A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Temporary Reprieve for Legal Immigrants in CommCare, Budget Saga Continues

Temporary Reprieve for Legal Immigrants in CommCare, Budget Saga Continues

July 17, 2009

Neil Cronin from the Mass Law Reform Institute shares an update on coverage for legal immigrants:

“Finally there's some good news to report on the continuing saga of special status legal immigrants. Because the state legislature has thus far failed to act on Gov. Patrick's proposed alternative plan to cover the 30,000 legal immigrants slated to be cut from CommCare, the status quo is maintained. At least for the month of August, the immigrant cut will not take effect. Full CommCare benefits will remain available to the 30,000 legal immigrants who received a warning notice telling them that their benefits may end on July 31st.”

Another month of full coverage is great. However, this temporary reprieve does not address the longer-term needs of the current CommCare members at risk of losing their coverage after August. The ACT!! Coalition, along with many partner organizations and individuals, are encouraging the Legislature to adopt the Governor’s proposed compromise coverage plan, and the $70 million budget appropriation that comes with it.

We all know the value of health insurance in providing preventive care. It is less expensive to keep people healthy than it is to pay for illnesses. The comprehensive coverage Commonwealth Care provides has enabled Eugenio Hernandez, a legal, hardworking, taxpaying immigrant from El Salvador, to stay in remission from cancer. Without health coverage, Eugenio would not have access to the same access to care needed to keep him healthy.

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The House is expected to resume taking up budget amendments and vetoes the week of the 27th. We still have some time – and a lot of work to do – to maintain coverage for legal, taxpaying immigrants in Massachusetts.

We CAN make this happen! Here are some of the things you can do to help:

  • Keep phones calls to your legislators coming! Don’t know who your legislators are? Click here to find out. Download talking points here. Find out how many residents are in jeopardy of losing coverage in YOUR TOWN here.
  • Share your story! If you or someone you know wants to post their story about why continued CommCare coverage is important to them, click here for our online submission form or fan us on Facebook and post your story to our wall.
  • If you or someone you know needs assistance please contact the HCFA HelpLine for support. Call at (800) 272-4232 or click here for our online HelpLine service.

On Thursday, NPR aired a story bringing more national attention to the issue.
Listen below:

Suzanne Curry
Health Reform Coalition Coordinator