New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan yesterday to connect the City’s undocumented immigrants with a soon-to-be launched “Direct Access” health care program. The Direct Access program is not insurance coverage, but a network of health care providers with the cultural competency and linguistic diversity to serve New York’s many immigrant communities.
The Direct Access program is outlined in a newly released report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Immigrant Health Care Access, available here. HCFANY Steering Committee members Becca Telzak (Make the Road New York), Claudia Calhoon (New York Immigration Coalition), Sheelah Feinberg (Coalition for Asian American Children and Families), and Elisabeth Benjamin (Community Service Society of New York) served on the Task Force that wrote the report. The report underscores that coverage is the gold standard for care and recommends that ultimately a coverage-based solution be developed for immigrants:
The Task Force believes that all individuals, regardless of immigration status, should have access to affordable health insurance coverage. Accordingly, it urges the State of New York to expand public health insurance options to the undocumented population and urges Congress and the federal government to remove harmful restrictions on immigrant health insurance access.
Consistent with the report’s findings, HCFANY will continue advocated for health coverage for all New Yorkers, regardless of documentation status and lauds New York City for taking this important interim step while the goal is secured.