Health insurance coverage improves physical and mental health outcomes, including life expectancy and stabilizes enrollees’ financial security by reducing medical debt and bankruptcies. Nearly all New Yorkers can access comprehensive, affordable health care through the Marketplace, except some immigrants because of their immigration status. This situation amplifies existing health disparities.
Last year, Governor Kathy Hochul promised to ask the federal government for a “1332 Waiver” to pay to expand NY’s Essential Plan Program to cover low-income undocumented immigrants in NYS as well as increase the financial eligibility limits for those who were already eligible to participate. The state’s Basic Health Program trust fund has a $2 billion surplus which could pay for this program. Immigrant coverage through the Waiver would also save New York $500 million, which it currently spends providing bare bones Emergency Medicaid coverage to immigrants.
Unfortunately, the Hochul Administration’s 1332 Waiver document and her State budget language exclude immigrants, backtracking on her promise last Spring, without explanation.
Take immediate action to ensure that all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, can obtain health coverage and live healthier and more productive lives. It’s the morally and fiscally right thing to do: