March 13, 2014

WASHINGTON—The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) applauds the introduction of the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act. The bill, introduced in the House March 13, would ensure that immigrants who are authorized to live and work in the United States are treated fairly by the health care system to which they contribute.

“It’s important that we begin to create healthier communities and a stronger economy in America,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of APIAHF. “To do this, we can start by passing the HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act into law, which would allow immigrant women and their families to address their health care needs, freeing up dollars spent at the state and federal levels for health services for immigrants in the uninsured pool.”

If passed, the bill would restore Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to lawfully present immigrants who currently face an excruciating five-year ban on coverage. The bill would also restore Medicaid coverage to Compact of Free Association migrants and would remove bars currently preventing DREAMers granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from participating in the Affordable Care Act.

Our current laws are unfair to hard working, tax-paying immigrants who contribute to our economy, and force immigrant families to delay preventive and critically needed health care services. APIAHF will advocate strongly for the swift passage of the HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act to provide health care protections for immigrant women and their families.