New Jersey is expanding eligibility for the NJ FamilyCare Cover All Kids program to include all children in families that are unauthorized immigrants.

During a visit to the Zufall Health Center in Morristown on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced from this point moving forward “those children whose families are currently Medicaid eligible income-wise will not be shut out due to their undocumented immigration status.”

NJ FamilyCare is the state’s publicly funded health insurance program that includes Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program recipients and is managed by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

The governor said by the end of last year, more than 47,000 children had been enrolled in Cover All Kids.

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“We’re going to reach out to bring in roughly 16,000 additional children whose families are currently Medicaid eligible income-wise, yet have been shut out due to their immigration status.”

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Murphy: The right thing to do

Murphy said “this is not just the right thing to do morally, but it is the right thing to do for the future health of our state in all the forms that health takes.”

Amy Torres, the executive director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, said it’s enormously costly for an immigrant who wants to become a permanent New Jerseyan “but with this expansion of Cover All Kids, health care cost is one less thing that immigrant families have to worry about.”

She said including the children of unauthorized immigrants in the program will help prevent costly health emergencies and crises further down the road.

“To truly realize our vision of becoming an opportunity state New Jersey’s public programs and services must grow to reflect the increasingly diverse families that call our state home,” she said.

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'Responsible investment in our children’s futures'

Murphy said that “in a state as wealthy as ours ... we cannot leave any child without vital, life-improving and potentially life-saving health care.”

Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman said “access to health care, particularly to primary care, makes kids healthier and communities stronger, and doing so is a fiscally responsible investment in our children’s futures.”

Families can learn more and apply by visiting njfamilycare.org or by calling 1-800-701-0710.

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