Photo: No Deportation for Eligible Undocumented, but No Health Insurance Either
Though earlier this year, the White House announced that hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth in the U.S. would be allowed to remain in the country, many have only recently discovered that those eligible to stay are not eligible for health insurance under the President’s new health care law.
According to a White House Spokesperson, the deferred deportation policy was not intended to make undocumented youth eligible for Medicaid of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, calling the two separate matters.
Though the ineligibility was disclosed last month, immigrant and Hispanic American advocates are furious.
A health policy specialist with the National Council of La Raza recently told the New York Times, ‘We do not understand why the administration decided to do this. It’s providing immigration relief to children and young adults so they can be fully integrated into society. At the same time, it’s shutting them out of the health care system so they cannot become productive members of society.’
According to the Times:
Immigrants granted [reprieve from deportation] would ordinarily meet the definition of “lawfully present” residents, making them eligible for government subsidies to buy private insurance, a central part of the new health care law. But the administration issued a rule in late August that specifically excluded the young immigrants from the definition of “lawfully present.”
This move from the White House is likely an attempt to garner support from conservatives who saw June’s announcement as an invitation for undocumented immigrants to receive free healthcare by way of government assistance.
The Miami Herald:
Obama’s June announcement…did not formally grant [the eligible undocumented] residency or permanent legal status, but allowed them to stay and work in the country.
That action, HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) decided, did not mean these immigrants were “lawfully present.” On Monday, it issued a 12-page amendment to the reform act regulations “so that the program does not inadvertently expand the scope” of the act.
Under the Affordable Care Act, state-federal programs such as Medicaid, the health insurance for the poor, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are only available to those “lawfully present” in the U.S.
Under CHIP qualifications is specifically states, “CHIP covers U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants. States have the option of covering children and pregnant women who are lawfully residing in the United States. Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for CHIP.”