Mass. High Court Rules For Legal Immigrants In Health Coverage Case

 Updated January 5, 2012, 4:00 pm

The state must restore full health insurance benefits for about 40,000 legal immigrants who were given slimmed-down coverage three years ago to save money.

The state Supreme Judicial Court said Thursday that cheaper insurance the Legislature created for legal immigrants in 2009 “violates their rights to equal protection.”

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, the director at Health Care for All, is celebrating the decision.

“We know that this is absolutely the right thing and it’s an affirmation of what this state has done consistently on behalf of the people in Massachusetts and on behalf of the health reform law that we stand so firmly behind,” she said.

Restoring full health coverage through the state’s Commonwealth Care program could cost about $150 million.

“We all respect the court’s decision and we’ll work expeditiously to identify the resources to comply with the court’s decision,” said Glen Shor, who runs the state’s Health Connector.

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