Immigrant NYers: Time is Now to Pass "Coverage for All"
Monday, January 31, 2022
Advocates for immigrant New Yorkers are urging the State Legislature to pass a bill to extend health coverage to undocumented New Yorkers earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level.
Known as "Coverage for All," the bill would make the state-funded Essential Plan available to undocumented residents who are currently excluded from health-insurance programs because of their immigration status.
Arline Cruz, associate director of health programs for Make the Road New York, said a recent report estimates the bill would bring coverage to 46,000 people.
"With the ACA (Affordable Care Act), we've been able to make really large strides and really decrease the coverage gap," Cruz pointed out. "However, immigrant New Yorkers still remain the highest uninsured population at the moment."
The bill passed the State Assembly Health Committee last week, and the state Senate Health Committee takes it up on Tuesday. Opponents say legal status should be required to enroll in the health program. But Cruz countered it makes no sense to deny undocumented people coverage, as they are taxpayers and many have been essential workers during the pandemic.
Cruz noted all New York children can access Child Health Plus, regardless of immigration status, until age 19. She believes options should be made available for young people when they age out, and argued there is no time to wait.
"A lot of our legislators are really looking to the Biden administration to make a move and say that we can use federal dollars to provide coverage for immigrants," Cruz observed. "However, I don't think it's the right move. And it's not necessarily in our history, New York's history, to wait for the federal government."
New York City has a program, NYC Care, which provides health care to city residents who don't qualify for insurance, including those who are undocumented.
Cruz thinks it is crucial to bring coverage to folks across the state, many of whom avoid seeking necessary medical care because of the cost.
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …