More Than 400,000 Immigrants Lose Health Care Coverage Due To Citizenship Questions

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Sep 14, 2015 8:40 PM
More Than 400,000 Immigrants Lose Health Care Coverage Due To Citizenship Questions

For those immigrants who received Obamacare benefits last year, a rude awakening came for some this year. Citizenship questions forced more than 400,000 to lose their coverage under the president’s health care law, though some immigration groups say that the verification process is flawed, and that many of those purged from the rolls were legal residents (via Fox News Latino):

A change in government procedures has led to a big jump in people losing coverage under the Obama health care law because of immigration and citizenship issues.

More than 400,000 had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year.

The Obama administration says it is following the letter of the law, and this year that means a shorter time frame for resolving immigration and citizenship issues. But advocates say the administration's system for verifying eligibility is seriously flawed, and consumers who are legally entitled to benefits are paying the price.

"Same dog, different collar," said Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, evoking an old Spanish saying about situations that do not seem to change. "The bottom line is people got taken off health insurance when they applied in good faith."

The National Immigration Law Center says it believes the overwhelming majority of the 423,000 people whose coverage was terminated are legal U.S. residents and citizens snared in a complicated, inefficient system for checking documents.

So, maybe there’s some enforcement happening here, but the Government Accountability Office reported in July that there are no mechanisms to combat fraud on Healthcare.gov. On top of that, premiums are (you guessed it) set to rise again for some urban-dwellers in a 12-state study from the Kaiser Foundation.

As Kristina Ribali from the Foundation for Government Accountability wrote, “Some insurance plans are also trimming back the available network of doctors and hospitals they cover, so if you live in a state where the costs are going up, you could be paying higher premiums and losing access to your doctor or hospital.”