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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

NY Legislature includes ‘coverage for all’ in Senate, House budgets

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Monday, March 18, 2024   

Both chambers of the New York state Legislature have included coverage for all legislation in their respective budgets.

The bills would update the state's Affordable Care Act Section 1332 waiver to make coverage available for all income-eligible people, regardless of their immigration status. Studies show half of likely undocumented immigrants and around 18% of lawfully present immigrants are uninsured.

Arline Cruz Escobar, health programs director for the group Make the Road New York, said the challenges stemming from a lack of coverage make life harder for the undocumented population.

"A lot of these preventable illnesses are going undetected and so, unfortunately, people are getting sicker," Cruz Escobar pointed out. "It also means that a lot of people who currently are sick aren't able to actually access the medication that they need."

One of the biggest obstacles to passing the bill is anti-immigrant rhetoric spreading across the country. However, many groups across the state submitted testimony declaring their support and need for this bill.

Cruz Escobar argued the growing migrant population in places such as New York City makes the bill more necessary. The New York City Comptroller's Office found the number of migrants not living in New York City but still in its care grew from 276 last May to more than 2,100 last September.

Beyond helping immigrants, supporters said the bill will benefit the state financially. The New York City Comptroller's office estimates passing coverage for all will generate $710 million in annual benefits.

Cruz Escobar described other elements of the bill.

"We have also included in our legislation language around giving the Commissioner of Health the ability to set up guardrails to ensure that for this expansion we don't over-cede the amount of surplus that's available."

She added the commissioner would also ensure there would be no additional cost through state dollars. Estimates showed New York State plans to spend more than $4 billion between 2022 and 2026 on issues related to migrants. Current spending is estimated at around $690 million.


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