The Health Equity and Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2014, introduced last week, would significantly improve the ability of immigrant women and families to access affordable health care.

The act will eliminate discriminatory barriers to coverage, including the current 5-year ban on enrollment after an immigrant has established lawful status. It will immediately restore full Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage to immigrants who are authorized to live and work in the US and are otherwise eligible for coverage. The HEAL Act will also remove the exclusion of DREAMers who have been granted deferred action through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“This legislation would correct the harmful restrictions that have been placed on legal immigrants’ ability to access affordable health insurance coverage,” said Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), who introduced the bill. “Limiting access to healthcare has a profound negative impact on families, communities and the nation as a whole and it must be corrected. These immigrants are hardworking taxpayers who deserve to be treated fairly under the system they pay into.”

Around 200 organizations and associations have signed onto a letter of support for the legislation.

Media Resources: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health 3/13/14; RH Reality Check 3/17/14; Rep. Grisham Press Release 3/13/14; Feminist Newswire 8/9/13

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