Imagine being at work and feeling a sharp pain in your chest. Imagine not being able to go to the hospital because you’ve only been working in the United States for seven years. What do you do next? Ignore a possible serious health issue or be forced to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills? Under the current system for Medicaid, immigrants without a ten-year work history are ineligible for Medicaid coverage. We need to eliminate this rule so that all of us can see a doctor when we get sick, regardless of our immigration status.
What is the 40-Quarters Rule?
The 40-quarters rule forces immigrants to be able to document 40 quarters or ten years of work history in order to become eligible for Medicaid. Eliminating this rule is the right thing to do. Immigrants are working hard to care for their families and give back to our communities. We should support immigrant families, not put up extra roadblocks to their health and wellbeing. In addition, the 40-quarter work requirement has significant economic repercussions and results in costly emergency services payments for immigrants who are forced to use emergency rooms as primary care doctors due to a lack of health insurance. Budget amendments estimate that eliminating the 40 quarter rule would bring in $16.6 million in federal funding to provide health services and cost the state $6.6 million dollars.
Democrats now have a majority and we can repeal the punitive barriers to accessing Medicaid through the budget process and ensure that everyone who qualifies for coverage can get the coverage they need, regardless of the length that they’ve been working. We need your help in ensuring that access to health care isn’t determined by race, zip code, gender identity, work history, or immigration status. Please reach out to your local legislators and tell them to support a budget amendment that eliminates the 40-quarters rule.