HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Just over three weeks remain in the legislative session at the state Capitol, and advocates are rallying to encourage lawmakers to expand Connecticut’s Medicaid program to cover all undocumented children. They say the coverage is more critical in year three of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you work and pay taxes, you deserve health coverage. That’s the message advocates pushed Monday, while lawmakers gathered inside. 

“Our families have been in our cities and our towns for 20 years, 15 years, 10 years,” Constanza Segovia of Hartford Deportation Defense said. “Our kids go to school here. They go to parks, they go play in the playgrounds.

We are all invested in these communities, and we need to see the same kind of investment from our leadership.”

They want legislators to expand Connecticut’s Medicaid program, known as HUSKY Health, to cover undocumented kids ages zero to 18.

Lawmakers told News 8 that doing so would cost $1.9 million. Last year, the program was expanded to include undocumented children up to age 8. Advocates say that’s not enough. 

“Immigrant families have been living through the pandemic like everyone else — over two years at this point without health coverage,” Camila Bortolleto, co-founder of CT Students for a Dream said. “It really is a public health crisis when you have a sizable chunk of the population without access to healthcare.”

Monday marked the start of the Rally for Immigrant Futures Week of Action. Advocates have events planned every day this week to encourage the governor and lawmakers to expand coverage further before the close of the legislative session early next month. 

Lawmakers raised the age for undocumented kids on HUSKY from 8 to 12 in a current version of the state budget that passed out of committee for a cost of $400,000.