© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hundreds share testimony on bill to expand HUSKY Health to 26-year-old undocumented immigrants

Hartford construction worker Josue Guzman (left), with translator Constanza Segovia, was one of more than 200 people who testified in support of House Bill 6616 during a meeting of the Human Services Committee that went well into the evening February 14, 2023. “At 24 years old, I know I have many years ahead of me to live, work and take care of my daughter who is only one year old,” said Guzman, “Right now my daughter is in poor health...if I was going through a health emergency and couldn't get the healthcare I needed because I didn't have insurance, what would happen to my daughter? HB 6616 aims to extend HUSKY benefits to people up to 26 years old.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
Hartford construction worker Josue Guzman (left), with translator Constanza Segovia, was one of more than 200 people who testified on Feb. 14, 2023, in support of a bill that would extend HUSKY benefits to people up to 26 years old. "At 24 years old, I know I have many years ahead of me to live, work and take care of my daughter, who is only 1 year old," said Guzman. "Right now my daughter is in poor health ... if I was going through a health emergency and couldn't get the health care I needed because I didn't have insurance, what would happen to my daughter?"

After expanding Connecticut's Medicaid program to include children up to 12 years old, regardless of immigration status, a new bill would expand that coverage to people up to 26 years old.

Roughly 200 people testified Tuesday about the proposed bill to expand HUSKY Health, Connecticut's Medicaid system.

Werner Oyanadel, the Latino and Puerto Rican policy director at the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, said at an earlier news conference that health care is a human right and should be included in the new Connecticut budget.

“I think the state of Connecticut is realizing that the way that we provide this benefit to the population can save the state of Connecticut a lot of money, because prevention can allow the state not to see people in the emergency rooms later on,” Oyanadel said.

Luis G. Luna, the coalition manager at Husky 4 Immigrants, estimated that the bill as drafted would cost the state $18.5 million. He believes expanding state Medicaid beyond what is being proposed, to include all undocumented immigrants over 26 years old, would cost taxpayers about $63 million.

Ariana Gonzalez, an immigrant from Ecuador, shared her family’s experience during a news conference, explaining that her 8-year-old brother suffers from a lack of health care.

“When he was born, he was diagnosed with asthma,” Gonzalez said. “We had to take him to the pediatrician frequently because he was very ill. He needed many medical tests, and that cost a lot of money. My home is just me, my mom and my little brother.”

However, the bill faces opposition. Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-Wolcott) said in a statement that she is “strongly against this legislation as it will provide state funds to people who are not citizens nor permanent residents, at a time when other services for legal residents remain underfunded.” She also expressed concern that the full cost of the legislation hasn’t been determined.

Updated: February 14, 2023 at 6:50 PM EST
Tags
Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content