Reform Law Could Limit Health Care Options for Undocumented Residents
Undocumented immigrants could experience diminishing access to health care as a result of the new national health reform law, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
The law explicitly prohibits undocumented immigrants from purchasing coverage from new health insurance exchanges, even if they pay for it entirely out-of-pocket.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the reform law will leave a total of about 16 million residents without insurance coverage, including aboutÂ seven million undocumented immigrants.
Some advocates have expressed concern that the uninsured will have fewer options for medical care, as hospitals and physicians begin to see an uptick in the number of newly insured patients.
Dan Hawkins, head of policy and research at the National Association of Community Health Centers, said there will be "greater concentration of care for theÂ uninsured in fewer places."
Some Options To Remain
Undocumented immigrants will continue to have access to emergency medical assistance under the reform law.
In addition, community health centers will continue to provide some services for undocumented immigrants and other uninsured residents.The health reform law will provide $11 billion in new funding to federally qualified health centersÂ over the next five years. Experts say the funds will allow such clinics to double their patient loads from 20 million per year to 40 million per year by 2015 (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 4/4). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.