The New York Immigration Coalition is bringing awareness to its "Coverage-4-All" campaign.
The campaign calls for the state legislature to expand access to health coverage for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.
Advocates are asking lawmakers to allocate $345 million from the executive budget to accomplish their goal.
The coalition says the state has more than 154,000 uninsured New Yorkers who suffer prolonged illness and even death in order to avoid paying expensive medical bills.
One local nurse says some of those people worked essential jobs during the pandemic, but had to use those funds to pay off medical bills rather than buy food.
“I urge everyone to consider that this affects all of us as communities, not just those that stand to benefit from receiving this medical coverage,” Mary Grace, registered nurse and University at Buffalo Professor of Nursing, said. “It’s affects mothers, fathers, children and communities. And when everyone in our community is health, our state will be healthy and our nation will be healthy."
According to the coalition, immigrant New Yorkers are dying at twice the rate of white New Yorkers since the pandemic began.