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Latino Daily News

Friday July 1, 2011

Immigration Status May Block Up to 220,000 Kids from Health Coverage

Immigration Status May Block Up to 220,000 Kids from Health Coverage

Photo: California Watch

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As many as 220,000 uninsured children in California will be excluded from health care reform programs because of their or their parents’ immigration status, according to an analysis released yesterday.

When fully implemented in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance to millions of uninsured Californians. But about 20 percent of the state’s 1 million uninsured children will be left out because they or their parents are illegal immigrants, researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research said.

“The Affordable Care Act doesn’t really go to covering all kids,” said Shana Alex Lavarreda, director of health insurance studies at the center and an author of the report. “It doesn’t get to that 100 percent coverage mark that we’ve been trying to get to.”

The findings, funded in part by The California Endowment, a financial supporter of California Watch, are based on data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey. The survey counts respondents who were non-citizens without green cards as undocumented immigrants.

Since 2007, the number of uninsured Californians has climbed. At the same time, immigration has slowed. How many children would be left out of health care reform programs today is unclear, but it’s likely “the magnitude is about the same,” Lavarreda said.

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