SUPERVISORS APPROVE EXPANDED ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
SAN JOSE – Yesterday the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan to expand the Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) to people with income up to 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) (motion by Simitian, second by Lee). This expansion enables a family of four making less than $106,000 to be eligible for healthcare services at community health centers throughout the County.
The motion came to the Board of Supervisors from the Health and Hospital Committee, on which County Supervisor Joe Simitian is Chair and County Supervisor Otto Lee is Vice-Chair.
“For years, I’ve been pushing to expand healthcare coverage for the ‘missing middle’,” said Simitian. “This new effort enables folks who are struggling to make ends meet to get the health care they need. It also strengths our county’s network of community health clinics — providing local care to local residents who know and trust them.”
“Santa Clara County is one of the most expensive regions to live in the country and too many people, too many workers and too many families make barely enough to make ends meet,” said Lee. “By doubling the income limit for this program, we are opening access for more of our neighbors to have health care.”
The PCAP expansion will build upon the County’s long history of developing programs that expand access to services through the local healthcare safety net system, including the Ability-to-Pay Determination Program, Healthy Kids, and Valley Care. The PCAP expansion will more than triple the number of residents currently served by the program.
“When I came back to the Board of Supervisors in 2013,” said Simitian, “more than 200,000 County residents were uninsured. We’ve managed to cut that number by better than half — using Covered California, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medi-Cal and our Valley Health Plan we’re down to 80,000 uninsured. But we can do even more. With this new effort we can serve another 20,000 folks, folks who still aren’t insured. A higher eligibility threshold just makes sense,” said Simitian. “The world is upside down when you have to ask yourself, ‘how poor do I have to be to get health care?’”
“There are still many people in our community in desperate need of medical services,” said Simitian. “This PCAP expansion provides access to these services to an additional 20,000 county residents.”
“Today we made a major step forward to close the gaps in health care coverage for Santa Clara County residents. I want to thank our community partners and health care workers who are making this care possible, and to advocates like the Sí Se Puede Collective for their advocacy and helping connect our neighbors with care,” added Lee. “I also hope we can expand PCAP to include mental health, dental, and vision services. Our families and neighbors need more comprehensive care to be healthy,” Lee concluded.
Valley Health Plan will lead the roll out of the County’s expanded PCAP, which is expected to start in early 2022. The Health Plan will partner with the County and community health centers to conduct outreach, notify newly eligible individuals about expanded criteria, help sign up those who qualify for health insurance, and let people know how to access services.