Albany, NY – Today, the Assembly Health Committee passed the Coverage For All bill(A880) by 15 yes votes and ten no votes and sent the bill to the Codes committee. Coverage For All is legislation that would create a state-funded health coverage option for New Yorkers up to 200% of the federal poverty line regardless of immigration status.
“We thank the Assembly Health Committee for showing immigrant New Yorkers that their health and safety is a priority,” stated New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh. “I urge the Senate Health committee to swiftly follow suit. State lawmakers have a responsibility to immigrants who put their lives at risk working to keep essential services running throughout the pandemic. New York cannot afford to leave anyone behind in order for the state to rebuild and recover.”
Last week, Governor Hochul released her official executive budget proposal, which left out healthcare coverage for thousands of immigrant New Yorkers. In response, the New York Immigration Coalition launched a broadcast and digital ad campaign calling on New Yorkers to tell their elected officials to pass Coverage for All. In recent weeks, the legislation has been endorsed by the New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.
“No New Yorker should be denied health care because of immigration status,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair and bill sponsor Richard N. Gottfried. “New York should be a progressive leader in promoting health equity. Expanding health coverage to undocumented adults is good fiscal and moral policy and I hope we can advance Coverage for All in this year’s budget.”
“Every step we take to expand healthcare coverage in our state will make New Yorkers healthier," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee and the bill's Senate sponsor. "It is critical that we expand the Essential Plan, to ensure low-income immigrant New Yorkers, who have struggled tremendously during this pandemic, have access to the care they need. I thank Assembly Member Gottfried for passing this critical bill through the Assembly Health Committee today and I remain committed to advocating for this measure in the Senate. "
“The last two years have shined a spotlight on the inequities of our healthcare system for communities of color, immigrant communities, and the working poor. While some New Yorkers could work remotely, it was our undocumented siblings who were restocking shelves in supermarkets, taking care of people’s children, and distributing PPE to others. Today’s reporting of the Coverage for All bill out of the Health Committee is a crucial first step. But we have to provide the funding for this. California and Illinois were able to recognize this and provide healthcare coverage to undocumented residents in their states. Why can’t New York? We are the home of the Statue of Liberty. Let’s make sure that it continues to be a beacon of hope and pass Coverage for All this session,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.
“As a registered nurse in Bronx hospitals, I have seen how barriers to health coverage for the undocumented have negatively impacted the wellness of our neighbors. I am pleased that the Assembly Health Committee took a bold first step in passing this legislation so that more working-class people and families of color can gain sorely-needed access to health coverage. I look forward to working with Assembly Member Gottfried, Senator Rivera, and the broad coalition of advocates to get this legislation enacted and funded in the coming weeks,” said Assemblymember Karines Reyes.
“Health Care for All New York (HCFANY) is grateful for the leadership of Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried and his colleagues for moving forward to ensuring that all of New York’s state residents, including immigrants, are able to access health care,” said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, VP of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society of NY and a co-founder of the HCFANY campaign, “the COVID pandemic has revealed that no one is safe unless affordable, quality health insurance is equitably provided to all state residents, regardless of their immigration status.”
“Make the Road New York applauds the NYS Assembly Health Committee's passage of Coverage for All. The pandemic exposed the disproportionate impact of health inequality on our communities. For more than two years, immigrant, Black, and brown New Yorkers have been on the frontlines as essential workers keeping our economy running, helping our communities stay safe and at the same time risking their lives and exposing themselves to the deadly virus. Governor Hochul and the full State legislature now have an opportunity to lead and prioritize health care access for all immigrants in the state. To truly start the recovery process from this pandemic, we must expand eligibility to health coverage to everyone regardless of immigration status. Our communities deserve to be able to have access to affordable health care and be healthy,” said Theo Oshiro, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York.
#Coverage4All is a campaign to expand coverage to all New Yorkers. The campaign is a coalition of community members, community organizations, health care providers, legal service providers, and labor, immigrant, and health care consumer advocates. Our objective is to create a statewide health insurance product for New Yorkers who are excluded from eligibility for coverage because of their immigration status, by enacting A880/S1572. A campaign of Health Care for All New York (HCFANY), #Coverage4All is led by the New York Immigration Coalition and Make the Road New York.