Shriver Center on Poverty Law Urges Congress to Improve Healthcare Access for Immigrants

LIFT the BAR Act and HEAL Act Will Expand Pathways to Coverage for Immigrant Families

Everyone deserves access to affordable, comprehensive, culturally appropriate healthcare, no matter their income, race, gender, or where they’re from. 

Immigrants have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19, with higher infection, hospitalization, and death rates than non-Hispanic whites. Because immigrants are excluded from eligibility for federal health programs, their communities face striking inequities in health coverage and access.

The Shriver Center on Poverty Law, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Healthy Illinois Campaign support the LIFT the BAR Act and the HEAL Act – two bills that will remove long-standing eligibility barriers denying immigrants access to federal health coverage pathways and safety net programs.

The Shriver Center calls on members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation to support both the LIFT the BAR Act and the HEAL Act by signing on as co-sponsors. 

The LIFT the BAR Act and the HEAL Act would, among other things: remove the five-year waiting period for legal permanent residents from accessing critical benefits, as well as allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to purchase coverage from the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. During a deadly health pandemic, no one should be shut out of obtaining quality coverage. 

We cannot continue to accept health care disparities and inaccessibility to federal safety net programs as normal. The Shriver Center on Poverty Law will continue to advocate for healthcare for all Illinoisans until everyone has access to coverage. 

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America’s greatest strength is its diversity.

Healthcare is a human right. The high cost of care means millions of families have no access to the critical care all human beings deserve.

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