NY Senate Health Committee Passes Coverage For All immigrants

Richard Gottfried
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan.
Associated Press/Mike Groll, File

The New York State Senate Health Committee on Tuesday voted to move bill S1572, also known as Coverage For All, forward to the Finance committee, allowing health coverage for all immigrants.

The legislation passed with seven yes votes to six no votes.

With this move, both versions of the legislation have progressed out of each legislative houses’ Health committees.

“Today’s Senate Health Committee vote reflects the growing momentum and recognition of the need for Coverage For All,” said Murad Awawdeh, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) executive director. “This is an urgent bill that state lawmakers must pass in this year’s budget to ensure the well-being of the entire state and workforce.

“The pandemic has made it clear that lack of health coverage is a life or death issue,” he added. “We thank Sen. Gustavo Rivera for long championing immigrant health and moving Coverage For All forward in this critical time.”

Coverage For All (A880/S1527) would create a state-funded essential plan eligible to New Yorkers up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line, regardless of immigration status.

New estimates place the cost of the bill at $345 million in order to cover tens of thousands of uninsured New Yorkers.

In 2021, a FamiliesUSA report found that one-third of COVID related deaths were due to insurance gaps.

“Today, my colleagues and I passed my bill to expand our State’s Essential Plan through the Senate Health Committee,” said Rivera, chairman of the Senate Health Committee and the bill’s Senate sponsor. “This measure will undoubtedly ensure more low-income, immigrant New Yorkers, who have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, have access to the healthcare coverage they need and deserve.

“With the Assembly Health Committee passing this bill last week, we are building the necessary momentum in both chambers to ensure we are able to expand access to coverage to more New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status,” he added.

“No New Yorker should be denied health care because of immigration status,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard 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 commend the Senate Health Committee for advancing the bill today and hope we can enact Coverage for All in this year’s budget.”

“Health care is a human right. Every New Yorker, regardless of immigration status, deserves access to affordable care,” said Sen. Brad Holyman. “I’m proud to support Coverage For All (A880/S1527) and to have the opportunity to vote for it in the Senate Health Committee today.

“I appreciate Sen. Rivera and the New York Immigration Coalition for leading this fight to make sure undocumented New Yorkers can access our state’s Essential Plan for health coverage.”

“A New Yorker’s immigration status should not be a hindrance to receiving health coverage,” said Sen. Julia Salazar. “This bill passing the Senate Health Committee is an important step towards making Healthcare accessible for all. It addresses a severe insurance gap that’s gone on for too long. I am grateful for Senator Rivera for pushing for such an important cause.”

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