Health Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants Rejected in Merced County

Speaker after speaker pleaded with the Merced County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to adopt the “Health 4 All” plan that would have offered health coverage to many of the county’s undocumented immigrants. But by a 3-2 vote, supervisors rejected the idea. 

Rodrigo Espinoza and Lee Lor supported the proposal, which would have covered an estimated 1,600 people. But their colleagues either found it too unfair or incomplete.

"We're going to say undocumented immigrants here in this community will have access to health care, but the U.S. citizens who don't, don't have health care?" said Supervisor Daron McDaniel. "I can't stand for that. I represent everybody in my community."

Advocates of the policy countered that undocumented immigrants don’t have the same opportunities for health coverage as citizens do. But even then, District 4 Supervisor Lloyd Pareira said the plan before the Board was inadequate.

Merced County is home to about 25,000 undocumented adults. Around 27,000 people in Merced County lack health coverage, according to figures presented to the Board.