U.N. Criticizes U.S. for Excluding Immigrants from Access to Health Care

The UN Human Rights Committee has released a report on civil and political human rights in the United States, following its review of U.S. obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Among many other areas of concerns, the report highlights how the Affordable Care Act discriminates against millions of immigrants by excluding them from access to adequate health care:

"[T]he Committee expresses concerns about the exclusion of millions of undocumented immigrants and their children from coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the limited coverage of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years by [Medicaid] and Children Health Insurance, all resulting in difficulties in access of immigrants to adequate health care."

2011 review by the UN Human Rights Council had also raised the problem of discrimination in access to care, particularly for undocumented immigrants. Advocates in the U.S. have for years struggled to remove the five-year bar to accessing Medicaid, but were dealt another blow when the ACA, passed in 2010, prohibited undocumented residents from using their own money to buy insurance on the exchanges. By contrast, all immigrants, including those in the U.S. less than five years and those without documents, will be included in Vermont's new universal, publicly financed health care system