Legal immigrants could face barriers to obtaining health insurance under the Senate Finance Committee reform proposal unveiled last week, advocacy groups warned.
Although legal immigrants, such as those carrying green cards, would be required to purchase health insurance under the committee's plan, the verification measures to prove their immigration status are too onerous, advocates said during a conference call hosted by the National Immigration Forum.
Excessive red tape could prevent qualifying legal immigrants or U.S. citizens from getting subsidies to purchase coverage, said Jennifer Ng'andu, deputy director of the Health Policy Project at the National Council of La Raza. “These verification measures impose major costs to our system and administrative burdens on states,” she said.
Advocates also said that Congress should eliminate a five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to participate in Medicaid, and make sure that children who are legal citizens have access to health insurance regardless of their parents' immigration status.
“These fixes we are asking for will help people comply with the requirement that they purchase health insurance,” Ng'andu said.