Bill giving undocumented families in Virginia emergency COVID-19 Medicaid access makes its way through Senate committee

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Registered Pharmacist Ken Ramey with CVS, prepares to give a COVID-19 vaccine, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at the Isles of Vero Beach assisted and independent senior living community in Vero Beach, Fla. A federal government study last fall found that an average of one death occurred among every five assisted living facility residents with COVID-19 in states that offered data. That compares with one death among every 40 people with the virus in the general population. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Undocumented families living in Virginia could soon have access to emergency Medicaid to cover COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccinations.

Right now, the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine for people who are uninsured regardless of immigration status. But what happens when that federal funding ends?

Virginia legislators want to make sure that undocumented people receive emergency Medicaid policies when federal funding is depleted so they can continue to seek COVID-19 treatment.

“Breaking down systemic barriers for immigrant families to get access to COVID-19 treatment is the right thing to do,” Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights and a member of the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-18 Advisory Workgroup said in a press release. “By investing and providing immigrant families the tools to overcome COVID-19 safely, we are making sure we are not leaving anyone behind.”

H.B. 2124 will now move to the Senate floor for consideration of passage. On Monday, the bill passed the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

If passed, H.B. 2124 will be sent to the House of Delegates, Virginia CAIR said, for an additional amendment.

The house version of this bill makes policy effective starting July 1, 2021.

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