It’s time for Hospitals and Clinics to Expand Healthcare Coverage For our Immigrant Communities


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To the Editor

In Connecticut, many immigrants are unable to regularly access health care due to the difficulties of obtaining health insurance in Connecticut. In the limited instances when we do have access, the quality of care we receive is poor with limited to no interpretation services, multicultural sensitivity practices, and complicated inaccessible financial assistance programs. Insufficient language access or uncertified interpretation affects care. In the absence of an accessible financial assistance program, low-income patients are discouraged from seeking medical care.

There are a lot of structural problems we have not solved yet. Usually, difficulties people experience when getting care through private insurance — waits, denials of care, unavailable or inaccessible providers — are chronic and terrible for people who are low-income or have no insurance at all. 

I am from Mexico and have been living in the U.S. for over 10 years now. My three children and I have been attending Saint Francis Hospital for years and due to not having health insurance, I get limited to no access to different healthcare services.

Currently, I am seeking a tubal ligation procedure and I need surgery but due to my immigration status and because I do not have health insurance, I can’t afford to do it. The current preventative birth pills I am taking are damaging my teeth. My teeth are becoming weak and it is harder for me to eat. 

In Connecticut, there is no health provider that can provide tubal ligation without health insurance. I have to go to a neighboring state to seek this health service, which is very frustrating because it is a human right to have access to healthcare and I can’t take care of my health because it depends on health insurance. 

I plan to go to New York to see if I can get this procedure done without insurance. An added stressor also becomes cost and time. As a mother of three, it is very stressful and frustrating to think about my health. I am scared this can progress and can lead to other diseases. My kids are young and I wouldn’t want them to be alone or worry about their mom when they deserve a healthy life. My main priority is to always support my kids. But how am I supposed to take care of them, when I have to fill my schedule with travel to New York to get the procedure done and pick up more work shifts to pay for the cost of them? 

The lack of access to healthcare services is troubling. Low medical payments don’t just discourage doctors from practicing in low-income communities. They can also incentivize health system intermediaries to restrict the availability of services.

It is time to build on this work to achieve the ultimate goal: access to quality healthcare for all immigrant communities in Connecticut. We need to expand Husky healthcare coverage in Connecticut to include parents like me. Healthcare is a human right. Reproductive health is a human right. We can’t be left out of the conversation, we need Husky expansion and comprehensive care for our immigrant families.

Manchester, CT

Cristobal is a member of Make the Road Connecticut.