Washington, D.C. – As the COVID-19 pandemic reveals painful inequities in the United States health care system, the need to provide immigrant communities with access to health care becomes all the more urgent. The National Health Law Program is proud to join 257 other organizations in supporting the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act, which was introduced in the Senate for the first time by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). The bill would expand immigrants’ access to essential and comprehensive health care.
Our nation’s current public health crisis has made it abundantly clear that health coverage and care are critical for every person, family, and community. Yet insured rates are considerably lower among noncitizens, including both documented and undocumented immigrants, because of policy barriers that force immigrants to navigate a patchwork of care.
The HEAL Act would remove the five-year bar that immigrants must wait out before becoming eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It would enable undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance plans from the online Marketplace made available by the Affordable Care Act and restore Medicaid eligibility for migrants under the Compact of Free Association Migrants (COFA).