Noteworthy News

Immigrants Muddy Reform Calculus for Safety-Net Hospitals

Immigrants to the U.S. – legal and not – pose a special challenge in the health care environment of the future.

Legal immigrants will not be able to benefit from many of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions until they have resided in the U.S. for five years while undocumented residents will not benefit from the reform law’s Medicaid expansion at all.  Meanwhile, many of these individuals will continue to turn to health care providers, and especially to hospitals, when they are sick or injured.

But is this is a problem?  And if it is, how great a problem is it?  How many such individuals are there?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has attempted to answer that question in a new report titled “State Estimates of the Low-Income Uninsured Not Eligible for the ACA Medicaid Expansion.”  Among the report’s findings, it notes that

Safety-net health care providers are likely to continue to be key providers for this population after health reform, and the need for safety-net care will not be spread evenly across states. The capacity of safety-net providers to fill this gap will need to be assessed. While all states will need to develop strategies for meeting the health care needs of these adults, the challenges will be particularly difficult for safety-net providers in states with large numbers of immigrants who will not be eligible for Medicaid.

Find the report here.iStock_000005787159XSmall

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