New tip sheet breaks down how ACA applies to immigrants

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

We’ve posted a tip sheet from the National Immigration Law Center on how the Affordable Care Act affects immigrants. They let us put their guide on the  site with one request – that we include their website and suggest that you check their site if you write on this topic in case there are updates.

There’s no sense in repeating what you can find on the tip sheet (undocumented immigrants don’t get covered, documented ones do under  the circumstances described – generally, they can go in the exchanges with subsidies if they qualify but still face a wait to get into Medicaid). But it is worth addressing the nexis between the health law and the current debate over helping immigrants become documented.

The bill will go through changes before it passes – IF it passes (a big question mark, particularly in the House). But the key message from our perspective as health reporters: Given what’s been said so far by Democrats and Republicans alike, it is highly unlikely that undocumented immigrants will get health benefits WHILE they are going through what looks to be a multi-year process of becoming documented. However, once they are documented they will be treated like the rest of the documented immigrant population.

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