Facts about California’s public health care systems

California’s 21 public health care systems include county-owned facilities and University of California medical centers.

California’s public health care systems operate in 15 counties where 80% of the state’s population lives.

Californians in counties served by public health care systems

Though they account for just six percent of the state’s hospitals, California’s public health care systems provide roughly 35% of all hospital care to Medicaid beneficiaries and 40% of all hospital care to the remaining uninsured in the communities they serve.


California’s public health care systems serve more than 2.85 million patients annually, provide more than 10 million outpatient visits each year, and are the primary care provider for more than 500,000 Medicaid enrollees who have gained coverage since 2014.


California’s public health care systems operate more than 200 outpatient clinic facilities …

… and employ more than 84,000 individuals.

California’s public health care systems operate half of California’s top-level trauma and burn centers, and train half of all new doctors in hospitals across the state.

A stable coverage landscape and a strong Medi-Cal program has allowed Califronia’s public health care systems to improve primary and preventive care in recent years. Since the outset of expansion efforts, California’s public health care systems have assigned roughly 700,000 patients to primary care teams, and have added more than one million patients to disease management registries that help track and manage chronic conditions and reduce high cost utilization.


As an example of these efforts, Calfornia’s public health care systems have decreased the rate of diabetes patients being hospitalized for short-term complications by more than 20% and the rate of patients with a diagnosis of “uncontrolled diabetes” dropped from 1% to 0.18% – more than five times smaller than what it had been.

  • Pre-expansion
  • Post-expansion

Facts about the Medicaid program in California (Medi-Cal)

Medi-Cal covers roughly 13.5 million Californians, nearly 1/3rd of the state. This includes 3.7 million people who became eligible for Medi-Cal through the expansion in 2014.

Total Medi-Cal population is in color
Turquoise indicates added via expansion 

Medi-Cal covers 1 in 2 low-income Californians, 1 in 2 Californians with disabilities, 1 in 5 adults under 65, 2 in 5 children, and 3 in 5 nursing home residents.

Low-income Californians
People with disabilities
Adults under 65
Nursing home residents

80% of Medi-Cal enrollees are in working families. Medi-Cal enrollees are truck drivers, health care workers, contractors, child care workers, waitresses, and others who are vital to California’s economy.

Medi-Cal enrollees in working families • 80%

Elderly and disabled Californians make up 18% of all Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but account for 63% of all Medi-Cal spending. 34% of all Medi-Cal spending goes to cover costs for Medicare beneficiaries (e.g. long-term care) that are not covered by Medicare.

% of Medi-Cal population
% Medi-Cal spending
Elderly and disabled Californians
Medi-Cal spending on Medicare beneficiaries