State Spotlight: California’s Landmark Coverage Expansion for Immigrant Populations

Prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program


Patricia Boozang, Senior Managing Director, Manatt Health | Kaylee O’Connor, Senior Manager, Manatt Health | Inonge Kaloustian, Manatt Health

State policymakers are increasingly focused on strategies to ensure access to and affordability of health care coverage for immigrant populations, especially in light of the significant burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on people who are uninsured. Because people who are undocumented are ineligible for subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, except for temporary, limited scope coverage for emergency services, they have a much higher likelihood of being uninsured compared to their lawfully present counterparts and U.S. citizens.

A growing number of states view extending affordable health coverage to lower-income residents, regardless of immigration status, as a critical step toward narrowing the gap in health coverage, advancing health equity, and improving the overall health and well-being of all residents.

In a “state spotlight” issue brief prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program, Manatt Health reviews California’s approach to expanding health coverage to all lower-income residents, regardless of immigration status, in an effort to help the state’s 3.2 million remaining uninsured, of which 65% are undocumented.

To read the full issue brief, click here.

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