They’re in the country illegally. Or maybe their protected status is unclear due to policy changes by the Trump administration or decisions in the courts.

Perhaps they’re waiting for word from Congress or the Supreme Court on whether they’ll get to stay.

Whatever their situation, the 11.3 million immigrants living in the United States without clear legal permission still need, and sometimes get, health care.

Even if they don’t have health insurance, they’re covered by a federal law that requires hospitals to care for all people during medical emergencies. And regardless of their documentation status, they can turn to safety-net clinics for basic needs.

A new analysis highlights a curious twist in the intertwined issues of immigration and health care — two areas where the current and previous administrations differ greatly.

Undocumented people in certain states may get more medical help while they’re here, the report finds, thanks to the current administration’s effort to give states more flexibility with their health-care spending. And in a reversal of the Obama administration’s stance, states may find it easier to get that permission.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, two members of the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation examine recent events, political philosophies and medical evidence about caring for immigrants who lack legal status.

Their conclusion: More states may want to apply for permission to use state and federal dollars to pay safety-net hospitals that provide care for everyone — regardless of a patient’s legal status.

Read more at Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan