Challenges and Solutions
For the past decade, the U.S. has been home to a settled population of 11 million undocumented immigrants.
- Low-income population with limited access to jobs offering health insurance. Excluded from federally funded insurance (Medicare, Medicaid).
- Health care access relies heavily on federal provisions for emergency medical treatment (EMTALA) and for safety-net clinics.
- Lack of insurance plus explicit exclusions severely limits access to non-emergency medical services beyond primary care clinics.
- Outcomes data suggest that investment in non-emergency services prevents costly defaults to emergency provisions.
- Ethical and practical uncertainties arise for professionals when policy does not support the delivery of standard medical care.
- Local solutions include investments in coordinating public hospitals and clinics with nonprofit community health centers to provide reliable low-cost care.
- State solutions include use of state-funded Medicaid mechanisms to provide coverage or reimbursement for needed services.
- Federal policies prioritizing deportation add new uncertainties for professionals, organizations, and communities.
What We Do
- Issue Brief: Health Care Access for Undocumented Immigrants under the Trump Administration (updated February 2017)
- Report: Undocumented Immigrants and Access to Health Care in New York City: Identifying Fair, Effective, and Sustainable Local Solutions (2015)
- Issue Brief: Undocumented Immigrants in the United States: Access to Prenatal Care (2014) (Chart: Prenatal Care: State-Level Policy Provisions, Slide Set: Access to Prenatal Care Teaching Tool)
- Report: Undocumented Patients: Undocumented Immigrants & Access to Health Care (2013)
- Issue Brief: Undocumented Immigrants in the United States: U.S. Health Policy and Access to Care (2012)
- State Policy Solutions: The Illness Experience of Undocumented Immigrants With End-stage Renal Disease (JAMA Internal Medicine, 2017)
- Local Policy Solutions: Undocumented Immigrants and Access to Health Care in New York City (2015)
- Searchable Database: Journal Articles, Reports, and Reporting on Undocumented Immigrants and Health Care Access (Updated 3/16/2017)
- Quick Guide to State and County-Level Data and Resources: Undocumented Patients in the Local Safety-Net (2017)