Update |

The HEAL for Immigrant Families Act – talk about a bold, bomb, bad-ass bill!

We’re so excited to see the HEAL For Immigrant Families Act of 2023 be introduced by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Congresswoman Nanette Barragan (D-CA), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today!

The Health, Equity, and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act removes unnecessary political interference and ensures immigrants can get the health coverage they need. At Physicians for Reproductive Health we know that cost is an unjust and significant barrier to people accessing care. The HEAL Act would help remove those barriers, supporting healthier individuals and communities.

Here is a breakdown of what the HEAL Act would actually do. You can also read more in depth about the bill.

  • Removes unnecessary barriers to health care access for immigrant people and their families;
  • Provides access to public and affordable health coverage for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients;
  • Provides Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to lawfully present immigrants without a five-year waiting period if they would otherwise qualify for the programs;
  • Allows undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces and obtain premium-tax credits and cost-sharing reductions; and
  • Allows states the option to expand Medicaid and CHIP programs to undocumented immigrants.

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Now let’s be clear – health care is a basic human right and cost should never be a barrier to someone getting the care and support they need. However, because our systems fall far short of those goals, the HEAL Act is an essential policy to bring us one step closer to all people getting the care they need. Because look, generations of health care and immigration policy has either outright excluded or severely limited immigrant access to comprehensive health care and coverage of that care.  And let’s be real – discriminatory policies and rhetoric continue to abound and we need our champions in Congress to state clearly and unequivocally that people who are immigrants, their families, and communities deserve access to care. And we need that until policies like the HEAL Act become law.

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PLUS (and we’re not letting this part go because we need reason to celebrate) this is the most proactive version of the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act ever introduced in the United States Congress! It would do more to cover undocumented folks and it would allow lawfully present immigrants access to Medicare, which is … some of the best health coverage you can get and we’re all waiting to turn 65 to qualify.

All to say, we’re thrilled and we’re also sending big love and praise to our partners at Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum who have championed this bill and ensured that immigrant communities are not left behind. We’re so grateful for their leadership.

View the video below to see PRH’s Board Chair Dr. Kristen Brandi share her support for the HEAL Act.

We’ll continue to keep you posted as this bill progresses, but if you want to support RIGHT NOW you can reach out to your Member of Congress — call them, beep them, social medial them — and tell them to cosponsor the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act!

Until next time,

MiQuel Davies
Assistant Director of Public Policy