“Verify First” Bill Is an Attack on Immigrants and Access to Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017

CONTACT
Email: media@nilc.org
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

“Verify First” Bill Is an Attack on Immigrants and Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill Tuesday that would prevent hundreds of thousands of people from accessing affordable health care due to bureaucratic glitches.

HR 2581, or the “Verify First” Act, aims to throw up serious roadblocks by making people pay the price for incomplete and deficient government databases. This would prevent people from being able to buy affordable, quality health insurance in marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act and would make the immensely unpopular American Health Care Act even worse. This bill harms immigrants and citizens alike, hitting U.S. citizens born abroad, naturalized citizens and some lawfully present immigrants the hardest, including certain domestic violence survivors and victims of human trafficking.

Ahead of the House vote, 228 organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women, called on Congress to oppose the measure.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The indefensible ‘Verify First’ Act is yet another anti-immigrant, hyperpartisan effort to vilify immigrant communities and undermine advances by the previous administration in expanding access to affordable health care. This shameful proposal would prevent both U.S. citizens and immigrants who are not yet citizens from accessing affordable care when they need it most, with potentially devastating consequences for them and their families, and for public health. The health of our families and our communities will suffer under this bill.

“We should be finding ways to increase people’s access to affordable health care instead of setting up roadblocks. When someone is sick, they should be able to see a doctor and get the medical care they need. No eligible person should be unable, because of inefficiencies or errors in government databases, to enroll for affordable health coverage. Leaders in Congress, no matter their party, should pay attention to the detrimental effect such a policy would have on their constituents, and they should reject this bill.”

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