Immigrant Advocates Applaud Governor's Sensible Healthcare Appropriation

Budget proposal hailed as fiscally sound and equitable for all

1/25/12 BOSTON —Today Governor Deval Patrick proposed enough funds in his fiscal 2013 budget to fully restore immigrants into the Commonwealth Care health insurance program. The governor's budget would fully abide by the recent Supreme Judicial Court decision, which called the state's ' exclusion of legal immigrants from the healthcare program in 2009 an unconstitutional act of discrimination.

The Governor's budget proposes to raise necessary revenues through a health and cost conscious means. By deriving more revenue from the sale of tobacco and soda, the administration will ultimately help reduce cases of cancer and obesity that burden our healthcare system. In addition to supporting the equal treatment of all lawfully residing Massachusetts  residents,  the new revenues also address the increase in healthcare costs that have outpaced current revenue collection..Full restoration of coverage for these taxpaying, legal immigrants is also fiscally prudent, since preventative care is far less costly than emergency care for ailments that go untreated.

"We applaud Governor Patrick for including funding to make the resounding Supreme Judicial Court decision requiring justice to prevail for the immigrants of Massachusetts a reality," said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care For All. "We welcome the opportunity to work with the Patrick Administration to reinstate legal immigrants into Commonwealth Care as quickly and effectively as possible.”

"We are very grateful for Governor Patrick's leadership throughout this long and difficult crisis for tens of thousands of lawfully residing immigrants in Massachusetts," said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "We are thrilled that the Governor's office has not chosen the self-defeating path of health service cuts or co-pay increases, but rather has found creative means for all legal, hardworking, tax-paying residents to receive the health care coverage they deserve. This takes a great stride in our state's noble mission to provide its residents truly universal health care."