Restore Health Care Benefits for Immigrants in Massachusetts
On September 1, 2009, over 30,000 documented immigrants and taxpaying residents of Massachusetts lost their health insurance, Commonwealth Care, due to budget cuts. These indiviuals pay the same taxes as all residents of the Commonwealth and deserve access to the same benefits. As a result of this shift in coverage, many immigrants have had difficulty finding new primary care doctors and face prohibitively high copays. On May 6, 2011, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the removal of this population from Commonwealth Care was likely a violation of equal protection under the state constitution.
Please, join us in telling our legislators to restore to 40,000 taxpaying, documented immigrants to Commonwealth Care.
In the wake of the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that the exclusion of immigrants from the state's universal health care program was likely a violation of "equal protection obligations" under law, we write to urge Massachusetts state lawmakers to restore equal benefits to 40,000 documented immigrants and tax-paying residents of the state of Massachusetts.
Since being removed from the Commonwealth Care Plan and placed on the Commonwealth Care Bridge, these individuals have been unable to seek care with their primary care doctors, some of whom they have seen for many years. Increased co-pays and a more restrictive health network has made it increasingly difficult for these individuals to access care.
Physicians have a moral obligation to treat patients based on their medical need, not on their social status or ability to pay. Increasing barriers to primary care increases reliance on emergency services, which are, in fact, more costly.
We urge the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to prioritize health care for all residents of our state.
Providing equal access to all residents of the Commonwealth regardless of their immigration status will make Massachusetts a stronger, healthier and safer place to live. The Massachusetts Supreme Court is right, immigrants deserve "equal protections under the law." We urge lawmakers to reinstate the 40,000 documented immigrants to the Commonwealth Care program immediately.
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