Statement on the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act.

Advocates for Youth applauds the introduction of the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act. The bill was introduced this morning  by Representative Pramila Jayapal and Senator Cory Booker with over 80 original cosponsors, and is endorsed by over 250 organizations who believe in the importance of accessible health care for all. 

The disparities in our health systems disproportionately harm communities of colors. We have seen this harm clearly during the on-going Covid-19 Pandemic. There is no reason that these barriers to care should exist. As we confront the legacies of racism and xenophobia in this country at the same time as we strive to fight off a deadly pandemic, unnecessary policy barriers to health care must be addressed.

At Advocates for Youth, we believe that all young people- regardless of where they are in the immigration process- should have access to the tools they need to protect their health. Young people deserve access to the full range of health care services. The HEAL act would help achieve this by removing the unjustifiable exclusion of undocumented immigrants from getting insurance coverage from the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Exchanges. The bill would make everyone, regardless of immigration status, eligible to purchase qualified health insurance coverage. It would also remove the unnecessary five-year waiting period for immigrants to access Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

It is time that we correct the past four years of fear-mongering and xenophobia, and treat immigrant families with dignity and respect. We need impactful legislation that reduces barriers to health care.