Briefs and Reports

Proposed Medicaid Changes: Consequences of eliminating health benefits for lawfully residing immigrants (Second in a series)


On February 4, 2009, Governor M. Jodi Rell proposed eliminating a state-funded program that provides health benefits to nearly 6,000 individuals lawfully residing in the United States for less than five years.

Key findings

  • Governor M. Jodi Rell’s proposal would terminate Connecticut’s program providing health benefits to nearly 6,000 immigrants lawfully residing in the United States less than five years. The vast majority of current participants would likely become uninsured.
  • Federal legislation enacted this year allows Connecticut to obtain federal matching funds that should pay roughly $10 million of the $48 million cost of this program over two years, if the program is retained.
  • Research shows immigrant children or pregnant women who become uninsured are far less likely to have a regular source of care, or get well-child or prenatal care and more likely to seek emergency room care. The state then pays for at least a share of labor and delivery, and other emergency services because of Medicaid requirements.
  • Safety-net providers, such as community health centers, are a key source of care for low-income immigrants. Terminating coverage will add challenges for these providers, especially while they face other budget cuts.