NY Democrats' Health Care Law Spends $500m Taxpayer Money on Illegal Immigrants
New York Democratic lawmakers push law giving illegals free health care
Democratic New York lawmakers have introduced a new bill that pushes to spend over $500 million in taxpayer money to provide free health care for illegal immigrants in the cash-strapped state.
The new law aims to provide virtually free, taxpayer-financed health care to more than 400,000 illegal immigrants adults.
The legislation has just been introduced by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) and requires Albany to foot the bill of at least $532 million, allowing undocumented adult residents to enroll in the state’s “Essential” or “Basic” public health-insurance plan, courtesy of the American taxpayer.
If illegal immigrants' household incomes are under 200 percent of the federal poverty line, they would be automatically eligible.
Residents living in the United States illegally would be expected to pay “small premium amounts” to help pay for their coverage, but most of the costs would be covered by the taxpayer.
According to the New York Post, both lawmakers head their health committees in the Senate and Assembly, which means the measure will get a serious airing and could pass the Democrat-run state Legislature.
Federal law bars illegal immigrants from qualifying for nationally funded health insurance programs for the needy, such as Medicaid.
The Gottfried-Rivera measure piggybacks a similar $100 million program touted by Mayor de Blasio that guarantees illegal immigrants in the city get basic medical care through doctors at city-run hospitals.
“The Essential Plan expansion bill will provide support for the city’s program but also enable enrollees to go to other participating providers as well,” Gottfried said on Sunday.
But Gov. Cuomo just amended his executive budget to trim health-care spending through Medicaid by $550 million because of a drop in state revenues.
State Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar opposed the measure as unwise and unaffordable.
“We shouldn’t be providing an array of taxpayer services for illegal aliens. It sends the wrong signal,” said Kassar.
“New York also is facing large deficits. There is no free lunch.”
Gottfried said the Assembly and Senate are analyzing what programs to fund in the new state budget to be approved by April 1.
“There are a lot of competing priorities,” he said.
“I believe this should be one of them.”
Gottfried and Rivera, in a bill memo, claim the $532 million cost of the program will be offset by a reduction in the spending the state provides to hospitals to provide care for illegal residents who show up in emergency rooms.
They emphasized that all children, regardless of immigration status, currently have access to medical care under New York’s Child Health Plus program.