Many health crises hit marginalized and undocumented communities hardest and wreak havoc on some of the most vulnerable people in society. Recently, Illinois became one of the first states to offer health care coverage to older undocumented immigrants.
According to KHN, most healthcare professionals believe that people can avoid suffering and death if they receive regular treatment for conditions like heart disease, diabetes and asthma. The state is seeking to offer preventative measures and treatment for these conditions to protect those who are more vulnerable before they become too sick to help.
Federal law bars health insurance for undocumented people
Despite the changes to state laws, federal law denies eligibility for undocumented people who apply for nonemergency Medicaid and Medicare, or any plan on the health insurance marketplace of the Affordable Care Act. Because of this, state funds must pay for this type of coverage.
Changes to the Illinois law will cover over 4,000 immigrant seniors who do not have health care coverage. Proponents of the changes point to the fact that many undocumented immigrants pay taxes and should receive care.
The importance of preventative care
Without health insurance, many immigrants avoid trips to the doctor that could prevent more serious illnesses and even death. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion set a goal to provide preventative care for Americans by the year 2030. Because federal law is strict on what funds pay for health care for undocumented immigrants, it becomes even more important that states pass laws and regulations that protect this vulnerable group of people.