All people deserve the opportunity to live healthy lives. Health equity strengthens our communities and grows our economy by decreasing illness and increasing productivity. Yet, despite Tennessee's thriving healthcare industry, not all Tennesseans have access to quality and affordable health care. Our state is one of 19 that has yet to adopt Medicaid expansion. As a result, 280,000 people, including eligible immigrants and refugees, live in the coverage gap. A further 90,000 individuals are unable to obtain health insurance because they lack immigration status.
In addition to the lack of health insurance, low-income immigrants and those with limited English proficiency face unique barriers in accessing health care. Despite having the fastest growing immigrant population in the country, our service providers lack cultural awareness and language sensitivity. Safety-net clinics, which provided care to the uninsured regardless of immigration status, are under-capacity and struggle to coordinate care. Therefore, immigrants and refugees who are eligible for health insurance through the marketplace continue to face many challenges in enrollment, such as lack of information and language assistance.
TIRRC organizes immigrant communities to participate in discussions shaping health policy. We work to ensure individuals have equal access and receive quality care regardless of where they were born, what their immigration status is, or what language they speak.