Over 20 million immigrants live in the US, approximately half of whom, or 11 million, are undocumented. Because immigrants are frequently employed in low-wage jobs they largely lack health care coverage. Legally residing residents are able to acquire coverage via the ACA's state marketplaces however they are typically required to wait five years to apply to qualify for Medicaid. Undocumented immigrants are neither able to buy marketplace coverage even if they pay the full premium nor are they typically allowed Medicaid coverage. Last November the President announced a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but whether this will improve their ability to obtain health insurance is unclear.
During this 23-minute discussion Mr. Padilla explains the genesis of the five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to apply for Medicaid, why undocumented immigrants are unable to purchase marketplace insurance at full cost, where (and how) immigrants typically get health care services and moreover what, if any, effect will the President's executive order actions announced last November have in providing health care coverage for undocumented immigrants.
Angel Padilla is a Health Policy Analyst at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) where he works to develop and implement NILC's federal immigrant health policy agenda. Prior to joining the NILC in 2014 he was an immigration policy consultant at the National Council of La Raza. Prior still he served as a Legislative Assistant to Rep. Luis Guiterrez (D-IL). Mr. Padilla also interned at the Department of Homeland Security. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a graduate degree form the Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy.
The National Immigration Law Center website is at: http://www.nilc.org/.