A report released by New York advocacy organizations on Friday highlighted the difficulties immigrants in the state face in receiving organ transplants that can save their lives, but can be hindered because of their immigration status.
The report comes as advocates and Democratic lawmakers have sought the approval of a measure to extend health care access from the Essential Plan to cover more adult undocumented immigrants living in the state.
“It is unacceptable that the lack of legal immigration status or health insurance is preventing undocumented New Yorkers from receiving life-saving organ donations," said state Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera. "That is why I am the proud sponsor of Coverage For All and the kidney transplant bill S3577. Both legislative proposals would greatly improve healthcare access for one of our State's most vulnerable populations while creating significant savings for the State by providing uninsured New Yorkers with options aside from emergency care. No one should be forced to suffer from acute renal failure as their life depends on dialysis treatment before being eligible for a life-saving transplant.”
Patients who are struggling with illness like kidney failure cannot obtain a transplant for lacking documentation like a Social Security number.
The report was released by the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Make the Road NY, and the NY Immigrant Coalition.
Undocumented New Yorkers are typically considered part of the "last mile" for obtaining universal health care coverage in the state.
“This report makes clear the urgent need for my colleagues and I to act to help the thousands of immigrant New Yorkers who can’t access the lifesaving care they need," Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas said. "I’m honored to sponsor both Coverage for All, which would extend insurance eligible to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, and an interim bill to require Emergency Medicaid to cover kidney transplantation for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status as well."