Two things first. One, they are no longer illegals. We must call them undocumented immigrants. Second. When President Obama and his Democratic supporters were pushing the Affordable Care Act through Congress, they promised that no “undocumented” immigrants would be able to purchase health insurance via the exchanges.
But in the end the sponsors of the Affordable Care Act in Congress put a little known post-script in the law that says states can petition the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow these people to purchase health insurance.
That's why California State Senator Ricardo Lara pushed a bill through the California Legislature that will allow Covered California to sell the undocumented health insurance. They cannot get Medicaid subsidies or any government help, but if HHS says yes, they will be able to insure themselves and their families.
Last week Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 and soon California will be knocking on the federal government’s door. It piles on top of Brown’s insistence last year that the children of undocumented immigrants be given benefit via the state’s low-income insurance program, Medi-Cal.
Lara and his supporters say allowing the undocumented to purchase health insurance will take the burden off of emergency rooms that do the bulk of the health care for them.
“Today we ask the federal government to remove barriers to health insurance access that discriminates against some of our residents on the basis of their documentation status. The current policy disallowing immigrants from purchasing care with their own money is both discriminatory and outdated,” Lara said.
If the federal government says yes, California will be the first state in the nation to do so. And it hopefully — says California Immigrant Policy Center executive director Cynthia Buiza — will “set another powerful precedent for other states to take action and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to purchase health coverage through their state’s insurance marketplace.”
Opponents — like Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen — say this is just going to add to the burdens of an already strained at the seams health care system. He and others predict premiums will jump. So all that will be accomplished is higher prices for people who live here while bringing even more illegals into California. “If we can’t even take care of our own citizens and legal residents, why would we want to take care of others?”
On another note. If the HHS says yes, it will vindicate South Caroline Republican Joe Wilson who gained notoriety during President Obama’s 2009 State of the Union Address. That’s when the president said ObamaCare — then a proposal — would not apply to those who are here illegally.”
Wilson’s response was, “You lie!”
Source links: Sacramento Bee, Insurance Business America