Lujan Grisham Introduces HEAL Act of 2017
For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 6, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham today reintroduced the “Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act.”
The HEAL Act of 2017, which now has support from 120 organizations, would restore access to affordable health coverage and care for immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States.
“The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2017 will guarantee that lawfully present immigrants who work hard and contribute to our economy will be treated fairly by the health care system they support when they pay taxes,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “I want to remove barriers that prevent access to health care programs like Medicaid and CHIP.”
The numbers speak for themselves. Among women of reproductive age, 36% of the 6.5 million immigrants who are not U.S. citizens are uninsured, compared with 11% of naturalized citizen immigrants and 10% of U.S.-born women. It’s even worse for reproductive-age women living in poverty, with over half of noncitizen immigrant women lacking health insurance—more than twice the proportion of U.S.-born women. The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2017 would go a long way toward addressing these and other persistent inequities.
The HEAL Act removes several unnecessary restrictions to health care, including:
- Restores eligibility and eliminates the five-year waiting period for all lawfully present immigrants to access Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
- Allows all recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to have access to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and CHIP.
Dozens of prominent organizations from across the country are formally supporting the HEAL Act. You can find a list of organizations here.
Center for Reproductive Rights
“Health care is a human right, no matter your immigration status,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We need bold leaders to stand up for policies that advance fair treatment and equal rights for all. We commend Representative Lujan Grisham for her leadership on behalf of immigrant women and families who too often face discriminatory roadblocks when they need essential health care.”
Advocates for Youth
“Limiting access to healthcare has a profoundly negative impact, especially for young people. Removing unnecessary barriers that delay accessing health care or make it unaffordable is critical in advancing the health and well-being of young people, women and communities. Young people especially deserve access to the full range of health care services, not policies that deny access to basic services they need to lead healthy lives,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth.
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
“We applaud Representative Lujan Grisham for her leadership in support of the health and well-being of immigrant families. The reintroduction of the ‘Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2017’ recognizes the contributions of immigrants and the need to eliminate outdated and harmful legal and policy barriers that have contributed to their exclusion from affordable health coverage,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH).
“Structural barriers to healthcare disproportionately harm low-income immigrant women. In order for immigrant women to have the opportunity to realize their full potential, care for their families, and make their own decisions about their future, these discriminatory policies must be removed. The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2017 provides us with an inclusive vision to build healthier and stronger communities. At a time when we see proposals that would potentially have a devastating effect on women’s healthcare access, we commend efforts to remove political interference so that immigrant women and families can live with the health and dignity that they deserve.”
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center
“Health and wellness are critical to building and maintaining thriving communities. That’s why expanding access to affordable health care should always be a policy priority. At a time when other proposals would further limit coverage for our most vulnerable populations, the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act embodies the principles that should drive any effort to address the shortcomings of our health care system. It stands in stark contrast to cuts in the Trump administration’s budget proposal and partisan efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We applaud Rep. Lujan-Grisham for championing this promising and crucial step toward a health system that cares for all people in our communities, regardless of where they were born or their income.”
National Health Law Program
“The Health Equity & Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women & Families Act of 2017 is the first step in ensuring that immigrant women and families have full and unencumbered access to health programs that their tax dollars support. The measure seeks to end unjust exclusion of eligible immigrants from accessing affordable health insurance coverage, including coverage through Medicaid, CHIP and the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. In the Trump era, this type of legislation is urgently needed,” said Elizabeth G. Taylor, executive director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP).
National Council of Jewish Women
“Two decades ago, politicians enacted discriminatory restrictions to push health care out of reach for immigrant women and families. The Health Equity & Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act is critical to restore justice for individuals and families who have been denied access to the health care they need due to their immigration status — barriers which disproportionately harm immigrant women. We will all benefit from healthier communities and a stronger economy by ensuring immigrant women and families can access the health care they need without jeopardizing other basic needs. We welcome this bill and urge its support and advancement in Congress.” – Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO National Council of Jewish Women
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
“The health of our immigrant families is so often overlooked, when it should be a major focus,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “The HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act does just that, by allowing immigrant women and their families to access the care they need and that their tax dollars support. Our country will be stronger and more successful when all residents have access to health care.”
Contact Gilbert Gallegos