NHeLP Letter of Support for Legal Immigrant ChildrenÍs Health Improvement Act o

Executive Summary

This letter to Senators Clinton and Snowe thanks them for introducing the Legal Immigrant ChildrenÍs Health Improvement Act of 2007.

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
476 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Olympia J. Snowe

154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Clinton and Senator Snowe,
The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) would like to thank you for your introduction of the Legal Immigrant Children?s Health Improvement Act of 2007 (?ICHIA?), as we strongly support the enactment of this legislation. For over thirty-five years, NHeLP has advocated for the provision and improvement of health care for America’s working and unemployed poor, women and children, minorities, immigrants, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Passage of ICHIA would provide access to health care for lawfully present immigrant children and pregnant women. Providing immigrant children health care ? especially preventive care ? reduces future health care problems, and costs, when those children, many of whom will become U.S. citizens whose productivity is essential to continue the progress of our economy and society, become adults. Children without health insurance must rely on safety-net health providers for services, often at a much higher per capita cost per encounter than those with insurance. In addition, such children are more often forced to suffer the pain and consequences of otherwise easily treatable illnesses. ICHIA would ensure that lawfully present immigrant children have critically needed access to ongoing care, thereby ameliorating human suffering, relieving the strain on safety-net providers and keeping the costs of health care lower by treating conditions before complications arise. Additionally, ICHIA would ensure that pregnant women may access costeffective prenatal care that is essential to preventing, discovering, and treating health problems before they develop into more serious and costly concerns.
Under ICHIA, lawfully present immigrant children and pregnant women will be able to access medical coverage in their states through the Medicaid and SCHIP programs with no waiting period. As the country recognizes the profound importance of health care for children, ICHIA demonstrates our commitment to providing all children access to the care they need. Approximately twelve states already provide health coverage to immigrant children. As the states have already shown commitment to expanding access to healthcare to immigrant children, ICHIA will only serve to expand the number of children that receive coverage.
We applaud your support of the Legal Immigrants Children?s Health Improvement Act of 2007. Please feel free to contact Mara Youdelman at 202-289-7661 if you would like to discuss this or any other issue about which we may be of assistance.
Laurence M. Lavin

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