Last week, I was pleased to present in San Jose with an impressive set of leaders in Santa Clara County, talking about how the safety net has evolved there.
Bob Brownstein of Working Partnerships talked about how Santa Clara took a leadership role in starting to provide coverage to all children, regardless of immigration status, paving the way years ago for the recent state decision. Dolores Alvarado of Community Health Partnership described the critical role of community clinics, and the changes they have seen since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Rene Santiago, who directs the public hospital system of the county, followed up on not just the past changes, but also further detailed some next steps.
In particular, I was excited to hear about Santa Clara exploring a new, smarter safety net over the next several months. As I described in my talk, California is leading in expanding coverage, and many counties that had more restrictive eligibility requirements for their indigent care programs are now rethinking and reorienting those programs to better serve the remaining uninsured. The more wealthy and progressive county of Santa Clara, with a Board of Supervisors that has backed single-payer health care, has had a more robust eligibility, including on income and immigration status. But they still see the opportunity to provide not just episodic and emergency care but a real medical home offering primary and preventive coverage. It’s an important step, in line with Healthy San Francisco and My Health LA, and we applaud these counties for taking this next important step.