Progressives Ask Connecticut Lawmakers to Expand Medicaid to Illegal Immigrant Minors

Progressives this week are pushing for Connecticut lawmakers to extend HUSKY Health, the state’s Medicaid program, to illegal immigrant minors at an estimated cost of $1.9 million.

Last year, reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Constitution State enacted a measure to make illegal-alien children under the age of 8 eligible for HUSKY, a policy that will take effect at the beginning of next year. But some say those between the ages of 9 and 18 should not be left out of the program. 

On Thursday, 400 Connecticut physicians signed a letter imploring legislators to make this older group of children eligible for HUSKY. 

The move on behalf of health care for illegals comes as part of what the state’s liberals are calling a “Week of Action,” a series of daily events urging officials to expand HUSKY coverage before the legislative session closes on May 4.

“The cost to the state of not passing this bill would be a failure of Connecticut to deliver on its moral duty to protect the most vulnerable among us,” wrote Yale School of Public Health student Jon Andre Sabio Parrilla in the Connecticut Mirror. “The cost to the state of not passing this bill would be a threat to public health. The cost to the state is Connecticut turning its back on its children and its future.”

Parrilla and other advocates for Medicaid expansion argue that it would accrue to the state’s fiscal benefit by preventing catastrophic healthcare use by patients later in life. Thus far, however, even the Democrat-controlled Human Services Committee of the Connecticut State Senate has declined to support a policy that several of its members believe would in fact be very costly. In a committee vote last month, Democratic State Representatives Catherine Abercrombie (D-Meriden), Jennifer Leeper (D-Fairfield), Michelle Cook (D-Torrington) and Kerry Wood (D-Newington) joined Republicans in defeating an expansion bill by a vote of 10 to 10. 

The rising number of those receiving Medicaid benefits has been a major concern for the state. According to the independent website, over 950,000 Connecticut residents receive health coverage either through the Children’s Health Insurance Program or through Medicaid, having seen a vast increase since January 2020. Those who were previously unemployed during the 2020 recession but who have since found employment have had relatively little incentive to shift back to private coverage insofar as the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act guaranteed continued benefits for those receiving them, “irrespective of changes in their circumstances.”

Altogether, Medicaid has cost state taxpayers about $2.5 billion annually, ever since Medicaid was last expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act in 2010.  

– – –

Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Connecticut Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].



Related posts