Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, has reintroduced a bicameral bill granting legal immigrants access to healthcare services.
Jayapal declared on Twitter on Wednesday: “We must eventually guarantee healthcare to all as a fundamental human right, regardless of immigrant status, wealth, welfare, or anything else.”
” I’m proud to be introducing the Health Equity and Access under Law (HEAL) Act, first move toward eliminating obstacles to health care for immigrants.”
Jayapal, who describes herself as a “proud immigrant who came to America at the age of sixteen,” said that “this is an immediate and important first move toward removing obstacles to healthcare and ensuring immigrants get the services they deserve.”
According to a statement from Jayapal’s office, the plan is being launched “amid a catastrophic public health epidemic in which over two-thirds of the undocumented community is operating on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The HEAL Act provides vital access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by eliminating the five-year waiting period now in place for legally present refugees, including children, to enroll in these health care services, according to the announcement.
“The law further ensures all DACA beneficiaries have access to public and accessible insurance services and eliminates existing barriers that hinder uninsured immigrants from purchasing treatment through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) program, guaranteeing that these people will receive premium tax benefits and cost-sharing reductions.”
Immigrants make up a sizable portion of America’s critical population, accounting for at least 23 million jobs, or one of every five.
Additionally, over two-thirds of the undocumented population is involved in pandemic response.