Online Program

Expanding Health Care Coverage to All Immigrants

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Elaine Congress, MSW, DSW, LCSW, Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University, New York, NY
The Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) made health care possible for millions who had previously been uninsured.   Yet there are many who are still excluded because of their immigration status.

The face of America is changing, as there are more immigrants (40,000,000) in the United States than ever before of whom over one quarter (11,700,000) are undocumented (US Census, 2014).  Because this large undocumented population is not able to purchase health insurance, receive tax credits for the purchase of health care under ACA, or apply for Medicaid, they have no health care coverage.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center (2014), nine million families can be referred to as mixed status families with undocumented parents and children who are U.S. citizens.   In these families each family member may have different health care coverage.  While undocumented parents can apply for their children with U.S. citizenship to receive Medicaid coverage, they themselves are not eligible for Medicaid or to receive health care coverage through employers. The widely acclaimed Presidential Executive Orders that provided a pathway to legal status for undocumented children (DACA) and their parents (DAPA) still did not extend health care to children and parents who are undocumented.  

Public health social workers have a professional and ethical responsibility to provide health care equity for all and thus strive to decrease health disparities.  Yet they frequently encounter undocumented people who cannot access regular health care.   The need for advocacy to extend health care coverage to all including undocumented immigrants will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define the provisions of the ACA including who is covered and who is not Describe the increase of immigrants with different legal status Name the different immigration status of all family members and how this affects their ability to access health care. Formulate advocacy strategies for health care reform that does extend equal health care accessibility to all

Keyword(s): Access Immigration, Health Care Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Associate Dean and Professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. I also direct the Fordham MSW/MPH program with Mt. Sinai Medical Center. I represent social work on APHA Governing Council and also am a Fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine. I have co-edited a book Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees: Legal Issues, Clinical Skills, and Advocacy as well as written many journal articles and chapters on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.