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Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.

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Advocates Seek Expansion of CT Public Health for Immigrants

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023   

Connecticut lawmakers are being asked to expand HUSKY - the state's Medicaid program - to include immigrants, regardless of their status.

Two years ago, legislation was passed to provide HUSKY Medicaid for undocumented children from birth to age eight, and for pre- and postnatal care for pregnancies of undocumented people beginning this year. Last year, kids were added up to age 12.

Now, advocates hope to expand HUSKY to immigrants and kids of all ages. Several groups are meeting with lawmakers today to discuss legislation for this expansion.

Luis Luna, coalition manager for the group "HUSKY 4 Immigrants," noted what he's hoping will come from this conversation.

"What we want to show is the issue, the issue at hand, that we must provide healthcare beyond 18," said Luna. "The other one, too, is we want to show, like, the broad support - not only from folks who are affected by this, but also from legislators, organizations, from healthcare providers."

More than 300 healthcare providers signed a letter in support of HUSKY expansion. In to a survey by the Universal Healthcare Foundation of Connecticut, it's a view shared by 57% of the state's residents.

A 2021 bill to expand HUSKY failed in committee in the General Assembly, because of cost. Opponents said it would also mean the state couldn't get federal funding for those who qualify for the expanded coverage.

A report from the Rand Corporation shows that adding immigrants to HUSKY would cost $83 million, but would provide over 21,000 people in the state with coverage.

Luna said the critical need for healthcare during the pandemic is part of what has fueled support for this expansion.

"In the beginning of the campaign, the first challenge was to change the narrative," said Luna, "that undocumented folks deserve healthcare. We've been continuing to push that narrative beyond 18. We do not want to get stuck in just having children only access HUSKY through this program, because it just brings a whole set of problems if you don't have an inclusive program."

He said one challenge of the campaign is rooted in legislators' views of who does - or doesn't - deserve healthcare.




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