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Laura Bocel

"I came to the United States from Colombia with my parents as a child. I was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, when the program first began. I am currently 25 years old. Despite working hard and going to school, I am living in New York City without health insurance coverage.

"As a college student with newly acquired work authorization, I began waitressing to support myself. The income earned from my waitressing job helped me to cover my monthly expenses, but I also learned that I am over income to qualify for Medicaid. As a DACA recipient who is ineligible for Medicaid, my options are limited. My employer does offer health insurance, but my premium would be close to $500 per month and DACA recipients are categorically ineligible for the N.Y. State of Health Essential Plan. If I want health care coverage, my only option is to make less money in order to qualify for Medicaid, which means that I am unable to cover my rent and other expenses. As a result, I remain uninsured.

"My situation is very stressful because I worry about what will happen if I become sick. I would not be able to afford services or treatment. A greater concern is that I have not had any preventative care services in years. I feel that the longer I am uninsured the greater my health risks become. I would happily pay my share if I were eligible for the Essential Plan. It would be a more affordable and desirable option to paying private doctors or losing income to qualify for Medicaid. I support the Coverage4All Campaign and expansion of health care coverage in New York because it would give me and other Dreamers affordable options."

Joseph

"I was visiting New York when the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010. My wife and son were in Haiti. Our home was destroyed and my son was badly hurt. They are both still in Haiti and I have only seen my wife once since 2010. I have not seen my son since before the earthquake. I applied for TPS as soon as it was enacted and have renewed every year since. I currently work as a parking attendant, but I am only able to work part-time. I have kidney disease and I am on dialysis 3 times a week. This limits that number of hours I can work and I qualify for Medicaid. Because I only have Medicaid, I have not been able to get on the kidney transplant list, so I must continue with dialysis. If I lost TPS and Medicaid, I do not know what I would do. I am a law-abiding man and I would not want to stay in the U.S. if I didn’t have lawful status. But I know I could never get the treatment I need in Haiti. If I lose my health insurance, I could lose my life."

Amanda

"I came to the United States from Haiti in 2003. I was 7 months pregnant and intended to stay for only a short time to visit family before I gave birth. I had a good job, 2 children and other family in Haiti. However, my son was born prematurely and needed a lot of medical care. I reluctantly decided to stay in the U.S. so my son could get the care he needed. Sadly, he died when he was only 5 years old. When TPS was enacted for Haitians following the January 2010 earthquake, I applied right away. I have maintained my status ever since. Since 2013, I have worked at a non-profit organization as a paralegal. No one at my job other than HR and my supervisor knows that I have TPS and not a green card or U.S. Citizenship. "I receive health insurance through my employer. If TPS for Haiti ends, I expect that I will lose my job and health insurance. I would have to go back to working off the books. I am the main caretaker for my parents and I know how important access to health care is for people as they get older. I would be very scared not to have health insurance. I support the campaign to expand health insurance coverage for all New Yorkers." *Amanda is a pseudonym

Estela R.

"If I could change one thing about the United State health care system, then I would make it so that free health care was accessible to all. I think that health is a human right and that our government should be ensuring this right. New York does not protect this right for us. I don’t have health insurance and I’ve had to forego medical attention such as regular health screenings, surgery, prescription medicines, and dental and vision screenings because of the high costs they were charging me. I like the idea of universal health care financed by our taxes, which we already pay."

Reyes C.

"I do not have health insurance right now and I haven’t had any for five years. I’ve encountered issues getting the care I need precisely because I don’t have health insurance and I’ve even had to stop receiving need care because the medical costs are excessively high. Prescriptions are necessary for me but I can’t always get them because of the cost. It’s been difficult for me to pay for my current medical bills because I don’t have health insurance. If I had it, I think some of the costs would be covered. Health care is a human right and we should have the same health insurance for every single person. We all pay taxes and we all work and contribute to the economy of this country. Therefore, we should have a right to low housing costs and low healthcare costs."

Ana H.

"I do not have health insurance and it is difficult for me to access the care I need. There was a time where I had to wait three months to save enough money in order to purchase the prescription I needed. When I was ready to buy it, the hospital informed me they didn’t carry it. If I needed a surgery, more prescribed medicine, dental and vision exams, X-Rays, blood work, radiation, or physical therapy, I couldn’t receive it. It was and is too expensive without health insurance. In my jobs, they can’t offer me health insurance. I have to keep on working, though, just to pay for the prescription costs of my medicine. I feel like I have been discriminated against in the past for not having a social security number and for being an immigrant. Every service is delayed and, therefore, my illness worsens because they kept sending me from hospital to hospital, each hospital claiming that they didn’t have the proper equipment to carry out my exams. I have a difficult time paying my medical bills. Health care is a basic human right and we should ensure all New Yorkers have this covered. If we pay taxes, why isn’t health covered by our government? What, then, are the services that the state covers?"

Antolina Macario

"I feel that I have been discriminated against in the health care system. Since I am no longer a minor, I am ineligible for health insurance now and I can’t access the services from before. I used to receive good medical attention, but now I am 29 years old and the medical bills that are mailed to my home show expensive fees. I don’t seek medical attention anymore, such as checkups, medicine, and dental and vision exams. We should have health insurance that is available to everyone, even undocumented individuals. I wish I had an immigration status so I could have health insurance."

Juana Cuate

"The longest period I have gone without health insurance is eleven years. Well, I came to the U.S. from Mexico eleven years ago. I was only able to receive health insurance during my pregnancy here in the U.S. Precisely because I do not have health insurance now, I am unable to see a dentist regarding the pain in my molars. It is hard to live with dental problems because I go to the dentist and they cannot see me. I’ve sought help three time for my toothache but they want to charge me $7000. I definitely feel I am being discriminated against because of my immigration status. Also, my medical bills for a regular doctor are really high because I don’t have a (health insurance) plan. It is difficult to receive the medical attention that I need. I would like to see all of us New Yorkers have health insurance—medical, dental, prescriptions, and hospital care should all be covered under one insurance for all. It’s not right. (Undocumented immigrants) reside here in New York and pay taxes, but we receive no help."