Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children, made the following statement in response to the introduction of “The Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act” by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Nanette Barragán (D-CA) and Sen. Cory Booker (N-NJ):

“No child with a medical condition like cancer, asthma or heart disease, or who needs immunizations, or treatment for an ear infection, or glasses to learn in school should have to wait five years to receive medical care, regardless of immigration status. The same goes for pregnant women, who are barred in many states from receiving treatment for five years, a nonsensical and ludicrous policy.” 

First Focus Campaign for Children is among more than 250 national and state organizations who have endorsed the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act.  

The HEAL for Immigrant Families Act would: 

  • Eliminate the requirement for a five-year waiting period for immigrants to enroll in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);  
  • Restore full-benefit enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP to all eligible, federally authorized immigrants by eliminating the outdated list of “qualified” immigrants; 
  • Ensure that all individuals with federally authorized presence, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are eligible for federally funded health care programs;
  • Allow all immigrants to access the Affordable Care Act Marketplace for coverage, including receiving associated tax credits.  

For more information on the legislation, visit the fact sheet from the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.