Press Releases

Friday, May 2, 2014

Latina Health Advocates Applaud Advancement of California’s Health for All Bill

Press Release
Washington
Alejandra Cardenas, alejandra@caminopr.com/ 212-255-2575

SB 1005 joins the federal HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act (HR 4240) in advancing common-sense solutions to promote the health of our communities

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) has issued the statement below in response to the California Senate Health Committees’ passage of Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 1005, the Health for All bill:

“We applaud the tremendous leadership of California Senator Ricardo Lara and the California Senate Health Committee for advancing SB 1005 – the Health for All bill. SB 1005 represents a step in the right direction for California and our nation as a whole. By ensuring that all people, regardless of immigration status, can obtain affordable health coverage, this bill will create a healthier and stronger California, improve the lives of women and families, and will serve as a model for the nation. We are delighted that SB 1005 joins the federal Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act (HR 4240) in advancing common-sense solutions to promote fairness in our healthcare system, build healthy families and communities, and advance the health of our nation’s workplaces and economy. We look forward to full passage of the Health for All bill.”

Background 

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dramatically expands access to affordable health coverage for Latinas, their families, and their communities, the ACA continues harmful restrictions on immigrant access to affordable health coverage programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Undocumented immigrants and those granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) remain barred from essentially all federal health coverage programs, including full-cost participation in health plans offered in the ACA’s new health insurance marketplaces. Even under the Senate-approved bill for comprehensive immigration reform (S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act), immigrant women and families could be forced to wait a decade or more for the healthcare they need, and others would remain barred from health coverage.

In California, Senator Ricardo Lara introduced SB 1005, the Health for All bill, which eliminates barriers to California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, on the basis of immigration status. SB 1005 also establishes the California Health Exchange Program for All Californians (CHEPFAC) to provide affordable health insurance coverage and premium subsidies to individuals who would be eligible for Covered California – California’s health insurance marketplace established under the ACA – if not for immigration status. 

Over 60% of low-income noncitizen adults are uninsured for healthcare and legal barriers to public and affordable health coverage programs are contributing to a crisis of coverage in immigrant communities. In Congress, Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) has introduced the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act (HR 4240) to eliminate costly and counterproductive barriers on the federal level. Under HR 4240, immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States who are otherwise eligible would be able to participate in affordable health coverage programs their tax dollars support. Both pieces of legislation represent proactive solutions to undo the costly and counterproductive barriers and advance the health of our families, communities, and nation’s economy.

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.