State Policy-Makers Learn About Immigrants' Access to Health Care

From 1995 to 1997, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) conducted research, produced publications and conferences, and provided technical assistance to state governments on the issue of immigrant access to health care.

A five-member working group identified five priority issues:

  • The impact of welfare reform proposals on elderly legal immigrants receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federal cash assistance program.
  • Increasing access to Medicaid managed care through medical interpretation.
  • Access to prenatal care for women who are in the country illegally.
  • Early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment for migrant farmworkers' children.
  • Tuberculosis among the foreign-born.

Located in Washington, the National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories to exchange ideas on pressing state issues.

Key Results

  • Project staff produced one-page briefing papers on each of the priority issues.
  • Project staff conducted more intensive research and drafted issue papers on prenatal care and language access.
  • Project staff produced two brief publications related to welfare reform and immigrants.
  • Project staff provided technical assistance on responding to federal welfare reform to eight states.
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures convened two conferences on multicultural health in July 1996. Each event, one in New York and the other in San Francisco, drew more than 100 participants from 80 organizations. The meetings addressed the five priority issues that had been developed by the project's working group of state legislators.