Health Care

Living Without a Safety Net

While the Affordable Care Act has led to historic gains in the number of Santa Barbara County residents who have health insurance, almost ten percent of adults in the county are still uninsured. The majority of the uninsured (21 percent) live in Santa Maria.  These thousands of people are forced to decide on a case by case basis whether they are sick enough to seek medical help. That choice could mean they may not eat tonight or pay the rent next week. Extensive research has found people who are uninsured receive about half as much medical care as those who have insurance, resulting in poorer overall health.

Still more people are underinsured. Though some have a policy, high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs comprise 5-10% of their income. These medical bills can often turn into debt. When the uninsured or under-insured enter the health care system they tend to be sicker with more advanced stages of disease. These factors exact an ongoing physical toll, resulting in higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

Data provided by Data USA (Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA) via the Census Bureau.

Taking Action

As part of our longstanding commitment to strengthening and augmenting the safety net in our community, the Santa Barbara Foundation is dedicated to improving the delivery of quality healthcare in Santa Barbara County. Our goal is to build the capacity of safety-net organizations to provide timely, high-quality, and patient-centered care. We will continue to bolster our support of healthcare organizations and service providers.

If you are interested in contributing to the solutions, we welcome your partnership and appreciate your support.

Make a Gift Health Care Community Grant Program

Committed to Community


Our Strategic Priorities were chosen as a result of our investigation into how the Santa Barbara Foundation could have a meaningful impact on solving today’s most persistent problems. The Strategic Plan was the result of a multi-year process of research, data analysis, interviews, focus groups and board deliberation. Our strategic priorities for 2018-2023 are to work with our partners and donors to maintain a safety net for the vulnerable and to find creative solutions to the problems of working families.


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