The Affordable Care Act specifically prohibits using taxpayer funds to subsidize undocumented immigrants’ health insurance premiums. But for the left, and especially under the Obama administration, laws are simply a speed bump to achieving their goals. Democrats are now plotting to get illegals into the Obamacare exchanges, in the hope that subsidies will soon follow.
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill — subject to Washington’s approval — that allows undocumented immigrants to buy unsubsidized health insurance through the state’s Obamacare exchange, known as Covered California.
The LA Times reports that state Senator Ricardo Lara, a Democrat who sponsored the California bill, recently went to Washington to drum up White House support.
To be clear, California’s initiative only lets illegal immigrants spend their own money on health insurance sold through the exchanges.
Democrats are stressing that point. The Times quotes Democratic state Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard as saying, “It is going to cost the taxpayers nothing, not one penny.”
Well, not yet.
If the goal was simply to give illegals access to Obamacare-qualified coverage they can pay for with their own money, why even go through the effort of opening up the exchanges?
Those health insurers that haven’t abandoned the Obamacare exchanges often sell essentially the same policies outside the exchanges — and for the same outrageously high prices. My wife has one.
Indeed, there may be more choices outside the exchanges. Aetna has indicated it’s pulling out of the exchanges, but will still sell its policies to individuals.
Of course, Obamacare’s health insurance “reforms,” such as requiring insurers to accept anyone regardless of a medical condition, apply to all qualified policies, whether bought through the exchanges or directly from an insurer.
Thus, the only reason to buy health insurance inside an Obamacare exchange is to get taxpayer-subsidized coverage: 86 percent of those in the exchanges receive subsidies.
Also, Obamacare doesn’t require illegals to have health insurance. Lucky them!
They are free to purchase much more affordable, non-qualified coverage that is still available off-exchange in most states. You know, like all Americans used to be able to buy before President Obama took away that liberty.
That exemption from the individual mandate is important because Obamacare-qualified health insurance is very expensive, and very few middle- and lower-income workers can afford it without taxpayer help.
For example, the Pew Research Center found that illegal immigrant households made about $36,000 a year in 2007, compared to $50,000 for the median household income. While that study is old, the numbers likely haven’t changed much because incomes in the Obama years have been stagnant.
Using the Kaiser Foundation Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator, the national average premium for a family of four — two adults age 30 plus two children — is $7,847 a year for the least expensive Bronze plan.
How many people making $36,000 a year pre-tax would spend $8,000 on a very high-deductible health insurance policy? Not many.
So why is the left going to all this trouble to ensure that undocumented immigrants can buy essentially the same health coverage they can already buy outside the exchanges when very few can afford it anyway?
That’s the secret ploy. Once illegals are allowed to join the exchanges and none of them do, Democrats will complain it’s only because they can’t afford the coverage and so they deserve to be subsidized too. Hillary Clinton has indicated she supports the effort.
In pushing through Obamacare, President Obama initially agreed that illegals would not have access to taxpayer subsidies. That was only a ruse to get the law passed. Now the left is moving forward with its real agenda.
If Clinton is elected, she will try to move legislation providing subsidies to illegals. If Republicans stop her, she will look for a way to bypass Congress, perhaps by handing money to states so they can dispense the subsidies.
And when Republicans object, she will simply take a page from the Obama playbook and sneer, “So sue me.”