Mass. High Court Says State Can’t Bar Legal Immigrants From Health Program
The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the commonwealth cannot bar legal immigrants from joining a state health insurance program for residents with lower income. The price tag for covering the 37,400 immigrants who stand to gain coverage is $150 million.
The New York Times: Massachusetts Health Plan Extended To Immigrants
Massachusetts cannot bar legal immigrants from a state health care program, according to a ruling issued Thursday by the state's highest court, a decision that edges the state closer to its goal of providing near-universal health care coverage to its residents (Bidgood, 1/5).
Modern Healthcare: Mass. Court Backs Legal Immigrants' Access To State Insurance Program
The Massachusetts State Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously to reinstate the access of legal immigrants to the state's health insurance program, a decision that the governor's office said will add $150 million in annual costs to the state budget. The ruling said that Massachusetts cannot bar about 40,000 low-income legal immigrants from the state's Commonwealth Care program, which offers subsidized health insurance to low-income state residents. A 2009 amendment eliminated access to the program for legal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than five years (Lee, 1/5).
Boston Globe: State Must Cover Legal Immigrants
Massachusetts lawmakers must quickly find about $150 million to provide health insurance to tens of thousands of legal immigrants, after the state's highest court ruled yesterday that they were illegally excluded from subsidized coverage available to other residents. The Supreme Judicial Court said a 2009 law that cut legal immigrants from the insurance program "violates their rights to equal protection under the Massachusetts Constitution..." State officials promised to take fast action on the court decision, which could affect up to 37,400 immigrants who have had legal status for less than five years (Conaboy, 1/6).
WBUR: Equal Rights For Legal Immigrants (At Least With Health Coverage)
The Patrick administration estimates the cost of adding 40,000 people to the state's subsidized insurance plan at at least $150 million a year. State tax revenues are down, so finding the money will be difficult. The state has a several choices. It can look at new taxes or fees to fund coverage for legal immigrants. It can cut other programs. Or it can make subsidized insurance less generous for everyone (Bebinger, 1/6).