October 15, 2019

Contact: Jaslin Kaur

(202) 656-8391 /

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) introduced the Health Equity and Access under the Law for Immigrant Women and Families Act (HEAL Act). The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and more than 120 other organizations endorse the reintroduction of the groundbreaking, intersectional bill, which boldly extends health coverage to immigrants. The HEAL Act would remove the five-year bar that immigrants must wait before becoming eligible for Medicaid. It would enable undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance plans from the marketplace made available by the Affordable Care Act and restore Medicaid eligibility for COFA migrants.

“NAPAWF is proud to lead the coalition that has pushed for the bold changes that the HEAL Act for Immigrant Women and Families would bring to immigrant families,” says NAPAWF Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow. “This is a landmark bill would lift the five-year bar on healthcare access for immigrants and undocumented families. Now more than ever, our government must listen to its people and support efforts to improve health access for immigrants, including AAPI immigrants, who need affordable, comprehensive health care like Medicaid and plan options under the Affordable Care Act.”

For many immigrant families, the HEAL Act would alleviate a constant worry of choosing between healthcare and other necessary needs. NAPAWF Seattle Chapter Leader Christine Ma says, “When you’re low-income and your priorities are to make rent every month and put food on the table, paying for doctor visits and medication are forced to take a backseat. No AAPI families should be turned away from care because of our lack of insurance or inability to pay.”

NAPAWF Albuquerque Chapter member Lucia Maillet adds, “Reflecting on my family’s experience and the many experiences of immigrant families, it is clear that our country is in a healthcare crisis.” It is time to pass bold, impactful legislation that puts families and our urgent needs first.

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.