NYLPI Critiques Governor’s Exclusion of Immigrant Health from Proposed Budget

March 4, 2021

Coverage4All, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, News

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New York “is exacerbating the COVID-19 crisis” by failing “to provide meaningful ongoing access to affordable health services” through comprehensive healthcare coverage, Health Justice Director Amber Khan explained in testimony submitted to New York’s Joint Legislative Hearing on Health. As Amber explained, the “pandemic presents a grim opportunity to see the life-and-death consequences of [the state’s] inaction.” There are 400,000 New Yorkers who are uninsured because of their immigration status. Immigrants also make up one-third of the state’s essential workers, and the resulting ongoing exposure may have contributed to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities. Yet the Governor’s proposed budget does not address healthcare accessibility for immigrant New Yorkers.

NYLPI has long supported accessible healthcare for all New Yorkers, including immigrants. We strongly support legislative action to address this urgent need; Senate bill 2549 / Assembly bill 1585 would temporarily extend Essential Plan coverage to income-eligible New Yorkers who have had confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and who are otherwise ineligible for coverage because of their immigration status. “We appreciate the Governor’s interest in supporting affordable healthcare,” Amber testified. But for the state to “deliver that care for all New Yorkers, accessibility – particularly during a public health crisis – must be prioritized.”

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