If You’re Undocumented, You Might Soon Have Access to Affordable Health Care

Leslie Ambriz
Credit: Flickr/Molly Adams  

Everyone should have access to quality and affordable health care, but it’s not a reality for more than 1 million undocumented immigrants in the state of California.

Undocumented adult immigrants have not been able to receive any benefits for a long time. This is because of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Congress legislated that undocumented immigrants would not receive benefits from social welfare programs. Documented immigrants don’t even qualify for many public assistance programs unless they’ve been in the country for at least five years. The bill was signed by then-President Bill Clinton.

Imagine you’re coming down with the flu and need to go see a doctor. Well if you’re undocumented, you’ll be paying for your doctor visit out of pocket which could cost someone over $100.

Studies have shown that undocumented immigrants pay taxes and file tax returns, but don’t receive access to quality health care. The California Endowment says that undocumented immigrants contribute more than $300 billion to California’s economy.

It’s organizations like The California Endowment that are having the conversation around accessible health care for all. In 2013, they launched a campaign called #Health4All. The campaign provides information about the economic and social contributions made by undocumented Californians and promotes access to healthcare for everyone in the Golden State.

The California Endowment is promoting the concept of equal access to affordable health care with the belief that your immigration status and age shouldn’t determine whether or not you receive the medical care you need.

A recent proposal could ensure that undocumented adults ages 19 – 26 receive the health care they need by expanding access to state-funded or subsidized health insurance programs.     

You can get involved with the #Health4All campaign by sharing on social media and visiting Health4all to learn more about being a healthcare advocate. Everyone deserves access to quality and affordable health care. To find out if you qualify for Medi-Cal or state health exchange coverage, visit Covered CA.

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