New York Lawyers for the Public Interest applauds the Cuomo Administration’s announcement that recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in New York State will remain eligible for State-funded Medicaid.
NYLPI has been working with its Coverage4All coalition partners to advocate for continued Medicaid-eligibility for DACA recipients and is encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to equity and health justice for all. This announcement will positively impact the lives of our clients and community partners immensely, many of whom depend on life-saving treatment provided by Medicaid.
On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer accept new DACA applications and all DACA renewals must be filed before October 5, 2017. This decision effectively rescinded the 2012 program started under the Obama Administration that promised protection from deportation to immigrant youth who entered the country before their 16th birthday. During the protection period, recipients receive authorization to work. The authorization also allows DACA recipients to go to school and further their education, along with receiving social security cards, driver’s licenses, and professional licenses. New York public benefits laws currently provide healthcare coverage to DACA recipients who are eligible for Medicaid. Now, based on Cuomo’s actions, even if the DACA program ends without resolution from Congress and people lose their authorization to work, thus losing their health insurance, they can continue to receive healthcare through Medicaid.
Although we applaud this step to continue healthcare coverage for New Yorkers who received DACA, the lives of many hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients remain in the balance. A long-term solution for the immigration status remains paramount.