May 03, 2024

New Biden Regulation Improves Health Outcomes and Equity, Advocates Say

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a regulation Friday to provide health coverage to about 100,000 people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who are uninsured. Because research shows that children are more likely to have coverage when their parents are insured, the regulation is also expected to improve health care access for children who are U.S. citizens.

In proposing the regulation, which will take effect November 1, HHS cited the policy’s potential to “advance racial justice and health equity.” Census Bureau data confirms that the uninsured rate for people who are Black (9.6% uninsured) and Latine (17.7%) are more likely to be uninsured than Americans overall (8.6%). Immigrants account for about 1/10 of Black people and about ⅓ of Latine people in the U.S.

The Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition (PIF) coordinated 424 organizations in supporting the regulation, by submitting a June comment on the proposal. PIF issued the following statement from its director, Adriana Cadena, reacting to final regulation:

“It’s simple – our country is healthier when every person can get the care they need. People with DACA and their families have waited too long for the health care every family should have. This new regulation is an important step toward equitable healthcare for all, regardless of where they were born. As a critical next step, HHS and state agencies must commit resources to effectively communicating this eligibility change to the immigrant families they serve. Every day they delay denies health care to families who need it.”