Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado's Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is requesting that Governor Bill Owens veto SB 176, the bill that would effectively eliminate all Medicaid benefits to legal immigrants.
This bill, if enacted into law, would affect the 2,000 Russian Jewish elderly age 65 and over who, for reasons of language deficiency, medical or mental conditions, have not and may never become citizens. These people, 90% of whom are Holocaust survivors, fled religious and political persecution in Russia with the promise of a minimal but adequate level of support in the United States and in Colorado.
These immigrants live on Old Age Pension and Supplemental Security Income, totaling about $578/month. Presently Medicaid (composed of state and federal matching funds) covers their medical expenses, medications, and nursing home costs when necessary.
Yana Vishnitsky, president and CEO of Jewish Family Service, said, "This bill is a real threat to the survival of legal Russian immigrants, people who have worked all their lives as productive citizens (albeit in another country), find themselves without adequate language and are penalized by taking away the minimal necessities for their survival and well-being."
Marvin Levy, chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, added, "If this bill passes, a great many of the poorest members of our community will be hurt including refugees from Russia and the rest of the world, both Jews and non-Jews."
The JCRC asks that you contact Govenor Owens to ask him to not pass this bill. His contact information is: email@example.com, fax: 303/866-2003
The JCRC consists of representatives from 30 Jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues, as well as at-large members that represent the political, youth and business components of the 70,000+ members of the greater Denver/Boulder Jewish community. They collectively develop policy positions, advocate community perspectives to elected and appointed public officials, and organize the community in times of crisis. Information: Janet Sherman, director of the JCRC, 303.316.6490.