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Court: S.D. County Can't Deny Basic Healthcare

A state appeals court has struck down a San Diego County healthcare policy that shuts out the working poor. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps explains.

Court: S.D. County Can't Deny Basic Healthcare

A state appeals court has struck down a San Diego County healthcare policy that shuts out the working poor. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps explains.

Imagine you make $1,100 a month in San Diego. Then you get really sick. Until the court stepped in, the County of San Diego would say you make too much money to get free treatment. The county sets the income limit at just below $1,100 a month and turns away anyone who makes even a dollar more than that.

A three-judge panel unanimously ruled that policy is unconstitutional in California. State law requires that every county shall “support all incompetent, poor and indigent persons.”

The ruling does not require a solution. But the court does suggest a “sliding scale fee system,” where health care is priced based on a person's ability to pay.

Andrew Phelps, KPBS News.