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Fate of Health Care Ignores Undocumented Families

April 7, 2012
Plain English Version

OPINION

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the new Affordable Health Care law.

The Obama administration says the law is its most significant achievement.

The decision of the Supreme Court will not change things for undocumented immigrants.

The Affordable Health Care Act gives naturalized citizens, and most “lawfully present” immigrants, the same rights and responsibilities as native-born Americans when it comes to buying health insurance. If they are low-income, they can apply for tax credits for their health insurance. However, the lowest income legal immigrants may not be able to enroll in Medicaid until a waiting period has passed.

Undocumented immigrants, including undocumented children, are not eligible for health insurance or Medicaid. They are not covered by any program the federal government will help pay for. Also, they cannot buy health insurance from private health insurance companies.

Therefore, the Affordable Health Care Act forces millions to remain uninsured.

The rule will cause problems for everyone. People buying insurance under the new health care bill will have to show proof of citizenship or immigration status. This is the only way to enforce the restriction against undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants will be forced to go to emergency rooms for care. Most cannot afford private care. Preventive health programs will likely not be available for them.

A law designed to help people get good health care will not help the millions who are undocumented.

Report from m.shale.com

 

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