Statement: Healthcare Bill for Immigrants Introduced

“CHIRLA applauds Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) and her colleagues for introducing the Health Equity & Access under the Law (HEAL) Immigrant Women & Families Act of 2015 on Wednesday. This bill removes the barriers to affordable healthcare for immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States that were erected almost 20 years ago and will allow immigrant women and families to participate in the healthcare programs their tax dollars support.

As everyone knows, immigrants work hard, pay taxes, and contribute to our communities and our economy, but are denied access to healthcare programs supported by their tax dollars under current law. CHIRLA believes they should have the same responsibilities and access to affordable healthcare as their friends and neighbors.

HEAL is important for the health of immigrant women and children.  Immigrant women are more likely to be low-income, of reproductive age, and uninsured for healthcare. They are also more likely to suffer from cervical cancer — and for a woman facing cervical cancer, five years can mean the difference between life and death.

Everyone would benefit from this legislation. Immigrant families without health insurance may delay treatment, leading to higher costs and greater suffering, or seek care through under-resourced emergency systems. And we know that when more of us have health coverage, our workforce is healthier and our economy is stronger.

We are proud to support the Health Equity & Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women & Families Act of 2015 and we thank and congratulate Congresswoman Grisham for her leadership on this very important and timely issue.”