Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

CSII Publications

Ensuring California's Future By Insuring California's Undocumented
Why Excluding Undocumented Californians from the Affordable Care Act Hurts All of Us

By Enrico Marcelli, Manuel Pastor, and Steven P. Wallace
May 2014

View/download the research brief >>

While the goal of the Affordable Care Act is to eventually provide coverage to all Americans, one group of residents who are an important part of our economy and society are explicitly excluded: the undocumented.

Expanding coverage to all makes sense for all of California.
Currently, legislation proposed by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) would seek to address this issue by making Medi-Cal, the public insurance set up for low-income residents, available to the undocumented and developing a private insurance exchange option nearly identical to Covered California.This brief aims to provide a factual basis for a consideration of both the Lara bill and other alternatives that may surface in the near future.

In this brief, we focus on the following questions:

  • What stands in the way of inclusion of all Californians because of policy design?
  • Who are the undocumented Californians left out of the reform?
  • How does access to medical insurance impact undocumented Californians and the state?
  • What does past experience suggest is the best way to reach this population?
  • Is it politically feasible for California to expand coverage for all?

This research brief is based on a longer literature synthesis that CSII expects to release in the summer of 2014. So please visit us again soon for access to the full report.

Read the Op-Ed based on this brief:
"Viewpoints: Health care coverage for undocumented immigrants"
By Enrico Marcelli, Manuel Pastor and Steven P. Wallace
Special to The Sacramento Bee
May 17, 2014