California built a safety net for millions of undocumented residents. Here’s how it happened

Published by
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Isabel Coronel, 76, walked into a hospital for the first time in almost 30 years last month. Coronel, an undocumented immigrant, had spent decades laboring in the fields of Southern California’s Inland Empire, picking watermelon, cilantro and radishes. She didn’t have health insurance and feared deportation if she tried to access medical care. She endured high cholesterol and blood pressure, severe knee pain, vision loss and the long-term effects of her January bout with COVID-19 rather than risk a hospital visit. That changed on May 1, when Coronel became eligible for Med…

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