Low income immigrant families face significant barriers to accessing health care. Federal law bars undocumented immigrants from public health insurance programs, and even lawful permanent residents are statutorily prohibited from obtaining Medicaid for their first five years of residence in the U.S. Other states such as New York and Illinois have provided state coverage lawful permanent residents, but New Jersey has lagged behind in extending benefits to all green card holders. In addition, states like California have created programs that would allow all residents to have access to healthcare, decrease costs, and lessen the strain on emergency rooms for primary care.
NJAIJ believes that access to healthcare is a right, not a privilege, for all. We urge our state to establish policies and programs that will expand access to healthcare to all New Jerseyans regardless of immigration status, including covering lawful permanent residents in their first five years of residence in New Jersey and piloting coverage for undocumented immigrant health coverage.