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Obama immigration action and FQHC’s

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President Obama’s executive order on immigration, if upheld in the face of legal challenges, would substantially increase the number of people with insurance coverage and thus have major effects on the U.S. healthcare system, says this article in The New England Journal of Medicine,

The authors write:

“Although the President’s … policy is likely to have a positive effect on insurance coverage of undocumented immigrants, it may, counterintuitively, do more to increase access to insurance for legal immigrants and even citizens than it does for those directly affected by the planned executive order.”


“{T}he reduced threat of deportation may mitigate immigrants’ mistrust as they decide whether to pursue needed medical care, regardless of their insurance status. Ironically, any resulting increase in utilization may exacerbate the financial strain placed on safety-net providers that disproportionately care for immigrants, since many immigrants will remain uninsured if they are ineligible for Medicaid or premium tax credits. Policymakers will therefore need to continue funding streams to support providers who care for uninsured immigrants.”

Cambridge Management Group, which has worked with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s),  which serve millions of uninsured and under-insured people, believes that the  Obama immigration action, if upheld, would tend to send more patients to these safety-net facilities. But litigation and Washington gridlock leave much in doubt. And would the Feds provide adequate funding to these FQHC’s?



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