Partial 'Win' On Health Coverage For Legal Immigrants

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Governor Deval Patrick will restore partial funding to cover uninsured legal immigrants in the state budget he signs tomorrow. The Governor’s budget adjustments will include $70 million for immigrants who are in a final stage of citizenship and who qualify for Commonwealth Care. The House and Senate cut the full cost of coverage for these 28,000 residents, which is about $130 million. Toby Guevin, state policy director at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, applauds the Governor’s move, but will continue to press for full funding.

"From this point, there is still significant work that needs to take place to make sure this population has comprehensive health coverage, and we will continue to work for that, but this is a good first step."

The Patrick administration will ask the federal government to pick up the other half of the cost of this coverage. If that doesn't work, the Connector will design a cheaper plan for these residents. House and Senate leaders were not ready to say yesterday if they would try to reverse this budget change. The Governor will go along with the House and Senate on maintaining dental coverage for adults who earn $16,000 a year or less. He has not said what he'll cut to free up the $70m.

Martha Bebinger

This program aired on June 28, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.