California Dems Inch Closer to Extending Obamacare to Illegal Immigrants

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Jun 07, 2016 8:30 AM
California Dems Inch Closer to Extending Obamacare to Illegal Immigrants

While there are still many obstacles to overcome, California is well on its way to giving illegal immigrants access to Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act technically bars illegal immigrants from being “eligible to buy Marketplace health coverage, or for premium tax credits and other savings on Marketplace plans,” but lawmakers in the Golden State are looking to take advantage of what some say is a “loophole” in the law.  

[A] provision in the law called the “innovation waiver” allows states like California to change portions of the law as long as the state makes coverage available to more people and as long as the federal government doesn’t get stuck footing the bill. […]

While the California waiver would be the first of its kind on a large scale, 18 states already have offered subsidies for prenatal care for undocumented women and health insurance for all undocumented children, according to Think Progress. 

The bill, which was passed by the state legislature last week, still has to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and would have to be given the OK from the Obama administration. And even then, there’s no guarantee illegal immigrants would be able to access insurance subsidies.  

Critics, though, say it’s a slippery slope and yet another example of how the federal government has hoodwinked Americans into getting behind the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.

“This is the first step in another misrepresentation of the Affordable Care Act,” Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform told US News & World Report.“It was sold to the American people on the fact that you wouldn’t have to subsidize health care for illegal immigrants.”

According to the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara, eligibility to receive health insurance would extend to 390,000 illegal immigrants if Brown signs the bill.