Senate passes Cano’s bill to expand Medicaid to
‘Cover All Kids’
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano’s legislation which would ensure that all children, regardless of immigration status, qualify for health insurance under the state’s RIte Track program was passed by the Senate today.
“Children should not suffer because of their legal status or socioeconomic background. In addition to lacking the health care that children need as they are growing up, children without health insurance may not receive emergency care as their families may fear that their status will be discovered. Having coverage for the children without regard to their immigration status would help alleviate some of those fears, keep kids healthier, and avoid preventable illnesses. Every child needs regular health care. Of course they should have immunizations, attention to their development and medical treatment when they are sick. We are stronger and safer when everyone in Rhode Island has the health care they need and with this legislation, we are restoring Rhode Island’s commitment to providing health insurance for our most vulnerable,” said Senator Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).
The legislation (2022-S 2187) would establish Rhode Island’s commitment to provide health insurance to all children who are residents of the state, regardless of immigration status. It would provide for the appropriation of state-only funds to pay for coverage if federal funds are not available.
RIte Track is the state’s Medicaid program for children, providing health care coverage for those under age 19 whose family income does not exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Rhode Island covered all children regardless of status for almost 10 years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it is time to restore this commitment to all children, Senator Cano said.
Expanding coverage would allow parents to take their children to the doctor for preventive care, see specialists as necessary and buy critical medications that can help reduce higher health care costs for the state because if children are hospitalized, the hospital bills are covered by Medicaid, with the state paying its required share.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.