Support Health Care for Immigrant Kids – Today !
During this year’s national debate on children’s health care, there are major opportunities to make real improvements in health care for Latino communities. We urge you to take action now to ensure that the many legal immigrant children and pregnant women are no longer unfairly denied access to Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Under current law, all immigrants who have come to the U.S. after August 22, 1996, must wait at least five years before becoming eligible for these programs, even when they are otherwise eligible for the critical services offered under these programs. Legislation, called the Immigrant Health Improvement Act (ICHIA), has been introduced in both the House and Senate to remove this “five-year bar” and right now, Congress has an opportunity to see this legislation pass as part of reauthorization of SCHIP
Medicaid and SCHIP help many families access health care when they cannot afford it. Unfortunately, because they are barred from these programs, many immigrant families cannot access health care in times of need. In fact, more than 11 million immigrants did not have access to health insurance in 2005. When faced with unfair and arbitrary limits to health coverage, children and mothers-to-be are forced to compromise their well-being by going without essential health care services.
House Energy and Commerce leadership are pushing for a strong reauthorization of SCHIP that includes the removal of the five year bar, however, they will need all the support they can get. The Senate Finance Committee failed to include the removal of the “five year bar” as part of the bill to be introduced into the Senate, and both bills face tough opposition in the face of a veto threat from President Bush. The Bush administration favors cutting funding, limiting coverage and relying on the private market.
Congress needs to hear from us to include ICHIA language in both the Senate and House bills. All votes are important, but Republican support in both chambers will be especially essential for the bills to pass, and to isolate the President’s veto threat.
Click the link below to act now to send a message to your Senator and Representative that you support full funding for SCHIP, and the removal of the “five year bar.”
Thanks for doing your part!