|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2009
Statement by HHC President Alan D. Aviles
in support of federal legislation
to expand Children's Health Insurance Program
New York City - January 16, 2009 - For too long, the children of immigrants who are legal residents have been stripped of the right to access health care coverage. New federal legislation can change that.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation fully supports the extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program by continuing coverage for seven million children and adding another four million youngsters without insurance nationwide. We are pleased that the House of Representatives has approved the bill, including a provision that would cover the children of immigrants who are legal residents. We urge the Senate to do the same.
Under Gov. Paterson's leadership and vision, New York has continued to pay for insurance for legal immigrant children with state dollars because federal dollars cannot be used. New York already has a sensible, compassionate policy that extends health care coverage to children without regard to their parent's immigration status. The rest of the country deserves the same.
We know the state now spends $13 million a year to provide this needed protection to legal immigrant children. The federal bill would provide $32.3 billion nationwide over four-and-a-half years and give the state much needed relief in these tough economic times.
We are hopeful that the full Senate will move swiftly to pass the bill, including this provision for the children of legal immigrants. And we look forward to seeing President Obama sign this important bill into law as one of his first acts as the new leader of our nation.