March 13, 2014

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham Introduces HEAL Act of 2014

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Today Congresswomen Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2014. If passed, this Act will have an enormous effect on many New Mexico families.

From her press release, Congresswoman Lujan Grisham states, “This legislation would correct the harmful restrictions that have been placed on legal immigrants’ ability to access affordable health insurance coverage. Limiting access to healthcare has a profound negative impact on families, communities and the nation as a whole and it must be corrected. These immigrants are hardworking taxpayers who deserve to be treated fairly under the system they pay into.”

Although they pay taxes, more than 600,000 legal permanent residents are restricted from receiving federal healthcare benefits. This lack of access leads to more visits to emergency rooms, where immigrants are forced to pay as much as $1,200 to treat common ailments like the flu and upper respiratory infections.

Rep. Lujan Grisham’s bill will guarantee that the more than 4,000 individuals in New Mexico, and 600,000 nationwide who have been granted status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our economy, will be treated fairly by the health care system they are paying into.

The Lujan Grisham office previously shared that almost two decades ago, politicians began enacting harmful restrictions that have put affordable health coverage out of reach for many immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States. The HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act would remove political interference so immigrants are able to access the health care their tax dollars support. Further, by restoring access to coverage and allowing immigrants to receive the comprehensive health care they need — including reproductive and maternal services — this bill will create healthier communities and a stronger economy.

You can read the full language of the HEAL Act of 2014 here.