SIECUS applauds Senate introduction of the HEAL Act
For Immediate Release
May 20, 2020
Contact: Zach Eisenstein
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext 3330
(Washington, DC) — Today, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act to expand immigrants’ access to crucial and comprehensive health care, marking the bill’s first-ever introduction in the Senate. SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change joins 215 organizations in supporting this legislation.
Our nation’s current public health crisis has made it abundantly clear that health coverage and care are critical for every person, family, and community. Yet insured rates are considerably lower among non-citizens, including both documented and undocumented immigrants, because of policy barriers that force immigrants to navigate a patchwork of care.
The HEAL Act would remove the five-year bar that immigrants must wait out before becoming eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It would enable undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance plans from the online Marketplace made available by the Affordable Care Act and restore Medicaid eligibility for COFA migrants.
As an organization that advocates for access to sexual and reproductive health care and the full spectrum of related services, SIECUS supports the HEAL Act and calls for its quick passage and implementation. Jennifer Driver, SIECUS’ Vice President of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, released the following statement:
“This legislation is a step in the right direction toward a future where all people have bodily autonomy, regardless of their employment or immigration status. Health insurance is a crucial tool for people as they manage their sexual and reproductive health, leading to stronger and more vibrant communities.
Especially when we are in the midst of a global pandemic, it is critical that we remove a xenophobic system of power that dehumanizes immigrants and falsely labels them as unworthy of basic health care. At SIECUS, we are committed to pushing back against systems of power and oppression that perpetuate sexual and reproductive health and rights injustices.
The HEAL Act removes an unjust barrier to care for immigrants and their families. SIECUS is proud to join our partners in calling for Congress to affirm everyone’s right to receive quality sexual and reproductive health care, information, and services.”
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change has served as the national voice for sex education for 55 years, asserting that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. Through policy, advocacy, education, and strategic communications efforts, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change—working toward a world where all people can access and enjoy sexual and reproductive freedom as they define it for themselves.