Jim García, Executive Director and one of the original founders of Clínica Tepeyac.
As the executive director and one of the original founders of Clínica Tepeyac, a community health clinic that sees more than its share of uninsured patients, I applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the President’s healthcare reform law that increases access to care for millions of Americans. Since we opened our doors at Clínica Tepeyac nearly 20 years ago we committed ourselves to caring for all patients who cross our threshold, the vast majority of whom had no access to health insurance and who are desperately in need of basic healthcare services.
It should be no surprise then that we do not focus on whether or not a person is a citizen or an undocumented immigrant when they enter our doors, we believe that everyone in our community needs and deserves quality healthcare services. Unfortunately, the healthcare reform law leaves undocumented immigrants largely outside of the discussion. We understand the political reality of today, where Congress is gridlocked on the issue of immigration. Despite this impasse, the recent Supreme Court decision advances the idea that we are a nation that cares for its sick, and that the time has come for us to expand our definition of “we” to fully reflect our neighbors and our communities.
The National Immigration Law Center outlines exactly how the law treats undocumented immigrants. It notes that our undocumented neighbors, the people who care for our grandparents, who prepare our food, who clean our hotel rooms, and whose children play side-by-side with ours at school, are considered:
• Ineligible to purchase private health insurance through the state insurance exchange
• Ineligible to receive premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions to reduce healthcare costs
• Exempt from the individual mandate to purchase health insurance
• Ineligible for Medicare, nonemergency Medicaid, or
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