Bill is Critical to Improving Immigrant Communities’ Access to Health Care
WASHINGTON — Today, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act, which removes politically motivated barriers to health insurance coverage so all immigrants, regardless of status, can fully participate in federal programs, including Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Expanding access to health care is always critical but, as the nation struggles to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need is even more urgent. The House version of this bill was introduced last fall. This is the first time the bill has been introduced in the Senate.
Statement from Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Viruses do not discriminate, and everyone deserves access to health care, regardless of their immigration status. Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauds Sen. Booker for his leadership in introducing the HEAL Act in the Senate for the first time. As the Trump administration continues to attack and leave behind immigrant communities in its COVID-19 response, it is critical we work to remove barriers that prevent immigrants and their families from accessing the care they need. Planned Parenthood calls on Congress to pass the HEAL Act and protect everyone’s access to health care — no matter what.”
The HEAL Act removes the five-year waiting period that prevents immigrants from fully participating in federal health care programs, and opens up the Affordable Care Act Marketplace so that all immigrants, including the undocumented and Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) recipients, can access the affordable health care they need. Additionally, the HEAL Act reinstates Medicaid eligibility for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants who lost access to the program in 1996. Facing many systemic barriers to basic health care and information, immigrants endure challenging and life-endangering health care disparities. Many women in immigrant communities are more likely to die from breast and cervical cancers, and some immigrant groups have high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. All of these diseases could be screened for, and in some cases prevented, with equal access to care.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America joins 215 organizations in supporting the HEAL Act, and is committed to ensuring that all individuals, regardless of citizenship, have access to quality care, including reproductive health care.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.