When President Barack Obama was pitching the Affordable Care Act before legislators in 2009, he promised that it would never be extended to illegal immigrants, which was one of the largest debates at that time.
People may remember the confrontation between South Carolina GOP congressman Joe Wilson and Obama back when the President first introduced his health care plan, which is now being called Obamacare.
His speech, however, was interrupted by the legislator, who shouted, “You Lie!” to which the President replied, “That’s not true.”
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) June 5, 2016
After the outburst, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee told ABC News, “The reality is the President was not telling the truth about illegal immigrants getting access to care under the bill.”
Indeed, that accusation proved to be prophetic with the recent report about a bill being filed which would effectively extend Obamacare to illegal immigrants.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 4, 2016
Now, California is taking the first steps towards giving those sneaking into the country’s borders the right to legally access private health insurance. The author of the proposal is Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara, who believes that as many as 390,000 immigrants will stand to benefit from the bill.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 6, 2016
According to US News, the overall health care law by Obama specifically prohibits illegal immigrants from availing of the benefits. This is cited on the federal government’s website under Coverage, which states that, “Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible to buy Marketplace health coverage, or for premium tax credits and other savings on Marketplace plans.”
However, Obamacare also provided a way out, which allows states to amend some provisions as long as they comply with the following conditions:
- That the coverage will be for more people, not less, and;
- That the federal government won’t shoulder the expenses as a result of the amendments.
This “loophole” is called the “innovation waiver.”
The “innovation waiver” is cited in Sec. 1332 of Obamacare, which allows the state “to pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the basic protections of the ACA.”
“The bill, which would require that a request for a waiver be filed, first must be approved by the state legislature and the governor before the waiver can be considered by the federal government,” said the report.
The bill seeking to extend Obamacare to illegal immigrants is now on the desk of California governor Jerry Brown, said Fox News.
In filing the bill, the Senator said, “We are talking about our friends. We are talking about our neighbors and our families who are denied basic health care in the richest state of this union.” Lara is actually the son of an illegal immigrant, so he’s got some personal motivation for pushing for the bill.
AUDIO: Should Illegal Immigrants get Obamacare? – California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D) discusses why he intro… http://t.co/BJc90ShhDJ
— Jack Webb (@JackWJustFacts) March 1, 2014
Federation of American Immigration Reform spokesperson Ira Mehlman told US News & WorldReport, that the proposed bill to include illegal immigrants in Obamacare will have some consequences.
He said that, once the law opens the health care to immigrants, the exchanges and subsidies are bound to follow especially for those who can’t afford to buy private insurance.
“This is the first step in another misrepresentation of the Affordable Care Act. It was sold to the American people on the fact that you wouldn’t have to subsidize health care for illegal immigrants,” he explained, adding that the private health plans would likely be very expensive to be affordable to those below minimum wage.
So the only way for the bill to work, said Mehlman, is to provide subsidies.
Jesse Melgar, who works for Senator Lara, explained that the proposed bill to extend Obamacare to illegal immigrants does not say anything about federal subsidy, which would have counteracted the provision in the Affordable Care Act. However, the proposal doesn’t exclude the possibility about states shouldering the difference, either.
[Photo By: Scott Olson/Getty Images]