The Business Council strongly supports S.1572-A (Rivera)/A.880-A (Gottfried), which would allow people currently ineligible for federal financial participation because of immigration status to buy health insurance under New York’s Essential Health program.
New York has been particularly successful in providing insurance coverage to our residents. In fact, more than 95% of state residents are covered, and the state’s uninsured rate dropped to 4.7% in 2017, the lowest ever recorded. Of the remaining New Yorkers who remain uninsured, as many as half are believed to be undocumented immigrants, who are ineligible for current coverages. This bill would secure coverage for this population, leaving the percentage of uninsured New Yorkers at near 2%, incredibly close to universal coverage.
We believe that the sponsors are correct in their assessment that a significant portion of the cost of this expansion will be saved in emergency Medicaid spending on this same population that will no longer be necessary. Additionally, the eligible population would be paying some minor premium amounts to contribute to their own coverage. We believe that this is well worth the cost of this expansion at $345 million.
Expanding eligibility for the Essential plans helps ensure a healthier population in a fiscally responsible manner. This is an important avenue to be pursued to ensure universal coverage in New York in an incremental and affordable way.
It is for these reasons that The Business Council enthusiastically supports S.1572-A (Rivera)/A.880-A (Gottfried).