By John M. Gonzales, CHCF Center for Health Reporting
Clinic director Fred Bauermeister has watched them pass through his doors for decades: chronically ill, uninsured men, women and children, who have delayed medical care because they are in the country illegally.
Now, immigration reform may bring health benefits to millions of formerly undocumented people — although there may still be a years-long wait after they attain legal residency.
But first — the immigration reform piece: a bandwagon of endorsements last week by Congressional Republicans have aligned with vows by President Obama and Senate Democrats to establish comprehensive immigration reform. A road to citizenship for people who entered the country illegally seems more assured by the day, but what is less clear is how the health care landscape of California, and the nation, would also change.
Would California’s estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants become eligible for health benefits? How would an already burdened health care system absorb them? Continue reading