WASHINGTON DC—(ENEWSPF)—November 21, 2014. Planned Parenthood Federation of America commends President Obama for taking long overdue executive action addressing key issues in our nation’s broken immigration system, and calling on the administration and Congress to work to extend healthcare coverage to these individuals.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We commend President Obama for extending much needed and long overdue relief to millions of women and families currently living in fear of deportation due to our nation’s broken immigration system. This is a bold step forward that will help strengthen communities, our country and create a path to the American dream.
“While this is an important step forward, we continue to join the chorus of voices across the country in calling on the Administration and Congress to work together to do more to reform our nation’s immigration system, including the implementation of policies that give all people the opportunity for affordable, comprehensive health care.
“At Planned Parenthood we see the difference that access to affordable health care makes for women and families every day and we’re proud to stand alongside our partners who have fought so hard for this victory. This is no doubt a joyous day for families across the country who have hoped and prayed for relief, as well as those visionary leaders and activists who have dedicated their lives to achieving what we are seeing today. We strongly believe that everyone in this country should have access to healthcare, regardless of income, geography, or citizenship status. It’s good policy – and it’s the right thing to do. Planned Parenthood patients count on us for lifesaving health care and to be their fierce champion when it matters most, that’s why we’re fully in support of comprehensive immigration reform.”
Immigrants have a high rate of uninsurance. Low-income immigrant women, in particular, are unlikely to have health coverage. Sixty percent of low-income, non-citizen immigrant women of reproductive age lack health insurance, which is nearly twice the proportion of low-income, U.S.-born women.
The lack of insurance can be attributed, in part, to restrictive public policies that prohibit immigrants from receiving federal health benefits.
Federal law has strict rules regarding Medicaid eligibility for non-citizens. Under federal law, undocumented immigrants may not receive Medicaid coverage or federal financial assistance to purchase coverage in the Marketplace. In fact, undocumented immigrants cannot purchase coverage from the Marketplace at all — even with their own dollars and at full cost.
In addition, some lawfully present immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Even those immigrants that are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP typically have to wait five years before their coverage goes into effect.
States are provided the option to extend Medicaid/CHIP coverage or services to lawfully present immigrant pregnant women and youth — but no others.
This is grossly unfair since many non-citizen households would be eligible for public health benefits if they were citizens. In 2011, the median annual income for non-citizen households was $27,400, roughly half the amount for citizen households — despite the fact that three-quarters of both non-citizen families and citizen families had at least one full-time worker.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.