Immigration status could block children from public healthcare

July 3, 2011

As many as 220,000 uninsured children in California will be excluded from health care reform programs because of their or their parents’ immigration status, according to an analysis released Thursday. [CaliforniaWatch]

When fully implemented in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance to millions of uninsured Californians, California Watch said. But about 20 percent of the state’s 1 million uninsured children will be left out because they or their parents are illegal immigrants, researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research said.

“The Affordable Care Act doesn’t really go to covering all kids,” said Shana Alex Lavarreda, director of health insurance studies at the center and an author of the report. “It doesn’t get to that 100 percent coverage mark that we’ve been trying to get to.”

The findings, based on data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey, count respondents who were non-citizens without green cards as undocumented immigrants.

Researchers estimate that 170,000 children will be barred from enrolling in Medi-Cal or purchasing private insurance in the California Health Benefit Exchange because they are illegal immigrants. Federal law prohibits the use of federal funds to provide health care services for illegal immigrants, California Watch added.

An additional 10,000 children are legal immigrants and have household incomes qualifying them for Medi-Cal, but they have been in the U.S. fewer than five years, making them ineligible for the federally funded program, according to California Watch.

If the state because of budget reductions cuts coverage for these recent immigrants, an additional 98,000 children currently enrolled in Medi-Cal will be dropped. They could, however, purchase insurance through the exchange when it opens.

Researchers estimate that 40,000 uninsured children could potentially be excluded from programs because of their parents’ citizenship status. Parents who are not citizens and do not have green cards do not qualify for the programs, but they may not know their citizen children do.

Some parents may fear jeopardizing their own immigration status by enrolling their children in public programs, said Doreena Wong, project director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center’s Health Access Project to California Watch.

“There is this pervasive fear among the undocumented,” she said. “There’s this fear that if you take any kind of public benefits, including Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, that when you try to adjust your status and get your green card, you’ll be denied.”


96 Comments

  1. Spirit Filled says:

    It is very disappointing to me to hear how many people are commenting in the negative about feeding and giving medical aid to Mexicans. We are in a sorry state if we think about how much money we’d save if we just got rid of them. I say put yourself in their shoes before you comment. Would you cross the border to work if you had a family that couldn’t be fed because you couldn’t get a job to provide for them? Here we are right over the border fat and happy, jobs, new cars every few years, vacations, and etc. staring them in the face and plastered all over the TV.
    There is a very good chance you would pop over the border to get some of the goodies and necessities to get through life. Like a job that pays consistantly. Maybe not much but much more than they can make at home. And by the way, they work themselves into the ground to provide for their kids and relatives. Even when they send the money home. Maybe if we were more giving we could all work together. I mean giving in our hearts. Not putting them in jail or sending them back home on a bus. They are running in fear. I really don’t want anyone to be afraid to live in America. Unless they are trying to kill our people.
    Mexicans want jobs. Believe me, you will get your monies worth. Stop the search and the buses back and forth to Mexico. That is not a good way to treat our neighbors. Maybe we can give them work permits so they won’t be hounded day and night. Let them work without fear like we do. We are no better than they are. Just happen to be born here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  2. slowtime says:

    BOO HOO. follow the rules. They should all be deported. Come to this country legally (the hard way) like my grandparents did, and contribute, then maybe they will learn to repect how good they have it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. Spirit Filled says:

    Money is not and has never been more important than even one person. Baby or an adult. When we put money first and make it our God we will fall apart as a nation. I can’t imagine why people would put our economy above peoples welfare. Of course we can’t afford to feed everyone and give them medical aid for free but we will because the USA is a nation filled with giving people. I know everyone isn’t God centered but people have a soft heart for the less fortunate no matter what you say. People talk big in front of others but leave them alone with a starving child or sick person and see how fast they decide to help them. Or even pictures to look at with suffering people and see how fast they give. They will dig deep in their pockets to help. American people have guts and smarts. And damn well care about others. That’s what makes us stand out in this world. Good, bad, or ugly, we love each other and want people to do good and be the best they can be. That’s what makes us special to each other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

    • Cindy says:

      Yes, yes, yes, we know all about that. The people of California have given to the extent that our education system can no longer function. Not only are we underfunded but we have provided special ed for those who refuse to speak English and LaRaza classes to teach them a different and inaccurate (special) history. We have fed, clothed, educated and counseled these children at a cost to our own children. As a result, California educational test scores now rank as the lowest the country, despite the fact that we spend more per child on education than any other state. Yes, we know how generous we all are.

      Tell me something Spirit Filled, if you only have enough to feed your own child and there is another child who is begging you for food because they want something better to eat than what they can get at home, which child do you feed?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

      • Spirit Filled says:

        My wife can stretch a meal. She feeds 20 out of a $100.00 budget meant for many less. All the kids are healthy. 2 went to college out of the four grandkids. All four working for a living and paying their own way.
        We can’t feed them by ourselves. We need your help. We do the best we can with what we have. That’s all anyone can expect. People in this country give more than they can to help others. Always have and always will. No sense trying to stop people from helping others. It just won’t happen. Thank God.
        To answer your question I will feed both. I will go to the food bank and get more food if I need to, or I will knock on your door and ask for help from you. If it’s just a matter of getting something that tastes better I will thank the child for the nice compliment and feed him or her. I will also invite the parents over for dinner with us. Maybe they will bring some carne asada burrito’s or some other Mexican dish. That would be heaven on earth.
        When I knock on my neighbors doors to ask for help they will come to the kid’s aid I’m sure.
        I have been camping with many Mexican people and can tell you they have huge hearts and feed everyone in sight. Never heard, “we don’t have enough to feed you”. I loved camping with these loving people.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  4. Cindy says:

    Only 220,000 illegal and/or anchor babies?? There are a whole lot more here than that and we can’t afford them. Anything that makes them go home is fine with me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  5. Spirit Filled says:

    I consider it a moral obligation to help the less fortunate. I can maybe provide a loaf of bread and a glass of milk and pay my taxes. And that’s a struggle at times. I expect the government to use my taxes to help others and that includes all people that need help. Food stamps, medical aid, child care and etc. For all people including illegal aliens. To me this is a moral issue.
    I agree at this time we need border patrols to keep the bad guys out if possible, not the people that want to work and care for their families. Just doesn’t matter to me if they are spending the money here or sending it home to help their families.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 28

    • Citizen says:

      Would you be willing to live on less, so that illegals can get the same benefits as you. Are you willing to sacrifice say half your present income so that others can benefit. Or have you even thought about your own income being reduced to practically nothing so that newcomers who haven’t paid into our system can be accommodated.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

      • Spirit Filled says:

        God provides. Never had to go hungry because of helping someone else eat. And no I have not thought about having half as much money. I think I all ready have half as much money. Never thought about have a 1/4 as much money either. God has never not provided for me and my family and whoever else eats at our table. We are very much blessed. As I’m sure you and your family is also.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

        • slowtime says:

          Another dreamer in fantasyland. It is no wonder we are in such a world (State) of hurt. Entitlement on our dime is a wonderful thing, huh?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Typoqueen says:

    @willie, SLORider, citizen etc., I agree, the border is getting worse and worse. This article has nothing to do with that though. I believe that both those on the right and the left want desperately to fix the border issue. I’ve said this a million times. Why do we need military bases in Europe, Afghanistan etc.? We need military bases on our borders. We need the borders patrolled with our military. We could use military spy tech and military power to protect our borders, we don’t need to be protected in Germany or Italy, we need it here at home. The border patrol is undermanned, under trained, and underfunded. It’s disgusting that our politicians haven’t had the b@lls to do something about this issue.

    That being said, what the right doesn’t seem to get is that once they are here it’s too late, we can’t send them back, the solution is to stop them from coming in the first place. Do any of you really believe that we are going to send trucks to drive up and down the streets to load up with illegal citizens? Are we going to throw out the immigrant parents of soldiers that have fought in the middle east for us, is that morally right? One boy at my childrens school graduated this year with honors, his parents worked hard to get him through school and now he’s been excepted into a leading university, should we kick him out? We should have standards that are compassionate as well as intelligent. We have be financially practical. Not treating anyone in this country for medical issues is not financially practical it’s just vengeful. We will be spreading infectious diseases and we will have children dying on the streets. We are not animals, we are not a third world country, most of us wouldn’t treat an animal like that let alone another human. You people are going about this the wrong way. Put you efforts towards closing off/guarding the borders not hurting other humans. I used to say that we should help Mexico realize what potential they have, Mexico could be a thriving leading economy with the right govt. in place (kinda like Oceano). If Mexico wasn’t so crime ridden who wouldn’t want to go there, it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But at this point we are spread too thin. Just close the bases overseas and guard our borders. Don’t punish ourselves out of spite. Everyone living in this country should have a right to medical care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 16

    • willie says:

      Typo

      There is no such thing as free health care, even those who receive medical in retirement has to pay for it.
      The idea of universal health care or single payer have more good points than problems about it.

      Clinton and Bush inherit a workable economy and Obama did not.
      Gray Davis inherit a workable economy and Jerry Brown (including that idiot Arnold) did not.
      The main problem Obama and Brown has in getting the economy flowing again is political (with re-election in mine) and not economic reasons.

      As a side note, we have already spend well over $3 Trillion on the war.

      California almost defaulted because of political reasons
      If the US default (it will not) it will be because of political reasons and not a economical reason.
      The Universal Health care issue was political (politically/ deliberately made into a big 2000 page mess).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

      • willie says:

        China now holds 3 Trillion of US debts and has amazingly built up a reserve of 3 trillion in a very short time without major impact to their economy in preparation the US may defaults.
        Emerging countries like India are now investing into hard assets such as oil rights, property and gold to hedge their loses in preparation the US may defaults.
        As I mentioned earlier we have already spent over $3 trillion on the war.

        Each time we have a full faith and credit problem, the effects are substantial.
        Bernanski has lowered the value of the dollar as far as it can go, interest rates will have to go up again.
        The real problem is in long term spending (with kicking the can down the road as usual-no reserve or rainy day funds) and the debt will continue to rise again (Obama is stuck with this, Jerry Brown is trying to prevent it by urging legislators not to needlessly spend some recent surplus it got).
        More relevant or serious to this topic is the government took out a lot of the unemployent figures or numbers and the real numbers will persist and increase meaning more families will be without health care.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

        • Typoqueen says:

          willie, the problem with our health care isn’t illigal immigrants it’s that we have the most expensive health care in the world. That and border control is what needs to be fixed. BTW, Clinton did not inherit a surplus, he left a surplus.

          Most of the things that you say about the economy are true. But if we have to spend our last dollar to keep our country healthy then that’s just what we need to do. Not only out of humanity but economically it makes no sense to let our country have our population die even younger, we already have one of the highest infant mortality rates. How much do think those hospital stays are costing us, you and me right now? I’m talking hospital stays that our kids incur because they caught something from someone else. When our kids get sick from whooping cough, TB etc that were gifted by someone that can’t get health care how much am I going to have to pay then? Do I have to pay with my child’s life? I would rather give the uninsured kid his 30$ immunizations than have that same kid end up costing me thousands for my child’s medical bills. Forget the humanity, forget how much we owe China, it makes economic sense to cover everyone. That being said, we need to get the cost down, the medical costs are crazy and no one seems to know why.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

          • r0y says:

            Actually, Clinton just happen to be president when the internet bubble was filled… it was a false economy as venture capital ran wild into areas that said capitalists knew little or nothing about.

            Once that bubble popped, the economy promptly popped with it. It is not the president (or governors) that are responsible for economies or budgets, they only get the credit/blame for them.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

            • Typoqueen says:

              LOL oh here we go, changing history again. Yes Roy and it was because of Bush that we got Osama.

              The Pez has a lot to with the economy, it’s all about the company they keep. If they surround them selves with people like A. Greenspan then the Prez is responsible for using Greenspan’s advise. The Prez can always say ‘nope, don’t believe in Reaganomics, we need to go down a different road, trickle down economics doesn’t work let’s go the other way.’ To a degree I can go with what you’re saying but I believe that you underestimate the power of the Prez. Bush played a huge part at putting us in the cr@p hole that we’re in now. As I said, it’s about the company they keep. For example, was Bush responsible for the cartoon drawing presented to him showing that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? He didn’t know that he was being lied to (perhaps) but he is ultimately responsible, he has the final word. That is why we need a Prez that is smart enough not to surround himself with the likes ‘the Dick’ Cheney and other self serving opportunists as opposed to intellectuals that actually have knowledge in what they’re doing.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

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