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Gov. Cuomo’s office: ‘We’ve been sued virtually every day’ over COVID-19 actions



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Agudath Israel of America on Thursday filed a lawsuit in a federal court to prevent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) from limiting how many people can gather in places of worship in certain parts of the state, The Yeshiva World reports.

The organization, which was founded in 1922 to serve the American Orthodox Jewish community, took the action after months of what it claims is Gov. Cuomo’s targeting and ostracizing of Jewish communities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’ve been sued virtually every day for every action taken. We’re concentrating on reducing the virus in these hot spots and saving lives, period,” NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Recent outbreaks in New York City have been mostly confined to certain areas of Queens and Brooklyn, which have been called “red zones.” Many Orthodox Jewish communities live in these red zones. For this reason, Gov. Cuomo earlier this week stated that he might ban large gatherings at houses of worship, which has been met by large Jewish protests and condemnation from Jewish political and religious leaders.

Gov. Cuomo’s office responded to and told this reporter: “We’ve been sued virtually every day for every action taken. We’re concentrating on reducing the virus in these hot spots and saving lives, period.”

The governor’s executive order comes consequentially as the Jewish community commemorates their high, holy days. In light of that, the lawsuit claims that the order is “depriving them of their religious worship and holiday observance.”

Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that the order is unconstitutional for discriminating against individuals practicing their religion while secular events comparable in size and social distancing are allowed. Additionally, they argue that, while the order targets all religions, because the restrictions apply to these “red zones” where many Jewish people live, it disproportionately targets them and their faith.

According to the Yeshiva World article, the fact that Orthodox Jews cannot drive on certain holidays essentially prevents them from attending services at synagogues outside the red zones.

Agudath Israel of America was not available for immediate comment. This story will be updated if and when a comment is received.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’



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On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.

The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.

Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.

“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”

“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”

While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.

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