Impact on Immigrant Communities of the Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Health care advocates are paying attention to what the repeal of the Affordable Care Act could mean for health care in this state. But they’re also paying attention to the impact of other Executive Orders and policies mean for health access.

Joe Sammen, Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Under-served (now the Center for Health Progress) tells KGNU’s Maeve Conran that Trump’s latest immigration measures are detrimental to the health of Colorado’s immigrants.  “It’s a shift to a much more aggressive policy towards immigrants in our country. When we think about immigrants and refugees, we think of some of the people who are the margins of our society, some of the people who face the biggest barriers to accessing healthcare services and leading a healthy life and we really believe that that divide, the sort of approach to divide our community really erodes the American values that we stand for.”

Sammen says the physical and mental health of immigrant communities are being put at risk. “We already know that there are a lot of barriers that immigrants face to accessing healthcare services…and the additional uncertainty that the Executive Order places on those communities only makes the situation worse.”

Changes in immigration status, fear of deportation, mistrust of institutions all undermine an immigrants community to live a health life says Sammen and puts undue burden and stress on these communities “which takes a toll physically and mentally.”

Last month, CCMU joined other prominent medical and advocacy organizations in filing an amicus brief supporting the Darweesh v. Trump case against the President’s first immigration ban. The brief argues that the executive order harms medical institutions and healthcare in America and disrupts patient care in the country.



Victoria Gómez Betancourt, Communications and Development Director at COLOR (Colorado Organizations for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights) in Denver says that there is a lot of fear in immigrant communities about the repeal of the ACA. She says that if communities are increasingly fearful, the likelihood of them seeking healthcare will diminish.

” A lot of folks in mixed status households have taken advantage of the Affordable Care Act and in doing that they’ve exposed themselves and family members and so there is that fear that through the process of taking advantage of greater access through the ACA has created a greater level of vulnerability for these mixed status families and households.”