Immigrants and Healthcare Coverage

In the United States, legal immigrants are able to access healthcare coverage and insurance from the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace. 
"Most people in the following groups are eligible for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace: U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, lawful present migrants" (HealthCare, 2019). 

One of the biggest talked about issues is undocumented immigrants and their access to healthcare. It is a thorny and hotly contested debate in modern politics here in the United States. "Undocumented immigrants aren't eligible to buy Marketplace health coverage, or for premium tax credits and other savings on Marketplace plans. But they apply for coverage on behalf of dominated individuals" (HealthCare, 2019). 

However, more progressive states such as California have proposed legislation to give undocumented immigrants government paid healthcare and access. "Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend about $98 million a year to cover low-income immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 who are living in the country illegally" (Beam, 2019). 

Although it may seem as a generous offer, it does not come without controversy from political opponents. "If enacted, it could prompt yet another collision with the Trump administration, which has proposed a rule that could hinder immigrants' residency applications if they rely on public assistance programs such as Medicaid. The proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security says the goal is to make sure 'foreign nationals do not become dependent on public benefits for support'" (Beam, 2019). 

There are also language barriers and risks associated with illegal or undocumented immigrants crossing unchecked. They can potentially have or carry diseases that can cross transnationally across the border and can cause public health crisis's. A lot of times there is a massive language barrier in which it makes it difficult to communicate. However, a real danger arises when a migrant has an illness or disease but is unaware of the symptoms. 

"ICE health officials have been notified of 236 confirmed or probable cases of mumps among detainees in 51 facilities in the past 12 months, compared to no cases detected between January 2016 and February 2018. Last year, 423 detainees were determined to have influenza and 461 to have chicken pox. All three diseases are largely preventable by vaccine" (Arthur, 2019). 

"In the end, it is hard to completely ignore the health risks posed by those whose entry into the country avoids medical examination and treatment. Whether you sit on the "build a wall" end of the spectrum or the "they're just seeking a better life" end, accepting that treatable major health risks are freely entering into our general population is an unwise strategy, regardless of your political leaning (assuming those risks are meaningful, a debate we can have)" (Arthur, 2019). 

Works Cited: 
Arthur, Andrew. Infectious Diseases Making the Border Crisis Worse. 13 Mar. 2019, Accessed 21 May 2019.

Beam, Adam. California Eyes Health Care for Immigrants in US Illegally. 21 May 2019, Accessed 21 May 2019.

HealthCare. Health Coverage for Immigrants. 2019, Accessed 20 May 2019.