Explaining public support (or lack thereof) for extending health coverage to undocumented immigrants. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • While the recent passage of health care reform is estimated to provide millions of currently uninsured Americans with access to health coverage, undocumented immigrants are excluded from federal mandates. Since federal reform excludes undocumented immigrants, state governments will largely decide the fate of this vulnerable population. This article investigates public support for including undocumented immigrants in state health care reform efforts in New Mexico. Understanding the public's perception of extending health coverage to this population is important because public opinion influences health policy formation at the state and federal levels. Our results suggest that there is little support for including undocumented immigrants (or recent migrants from other parts of the United States) in state health care reform, particularly when compared with other segments of the New Mexican population, such as the homeless or unemployed. Our discussion highlights the economic and public health consequences of excluding undocumented immigrants from coverage options.

publication date

  • May 2011