California Democrats advocated for Barack Obama to sign a waiver allowing illegal immigrants to buy healthcare plans through the Obamacare exchanges Wednesday, claiming the change would not be federally subsidized.
California’s Democratic delegation sent a letter to the administration Monday pushing to make the state the first exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s provision preventing illegals from purchasing plans.
At a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday, State Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat who led the effort on the state level, stood with congressional lawmakers arguing the exemption would not cost taxpayer dollars or affect the state budget. Said Lara:
We know that 72% of our California families come from mixed status households, meaning whether one or two people in your family are undocumented. This creates a significant problem when you’re currently registering for the Affordable Care Act, because we see time and time again, when you can’t enroll the entire family, the entire family leaves without enrolling anyone.
The change would allow individuals who are in the country legally to register for subsidized plans while the illegal relatives can purchase plans at their own expense.
Democrat Rep. Judy Chu told reporters the change “does something the ACA should have been allowed to do,” adding she believes it was a mistake to add the language outlawing it in 2010.
Democrat Rep. Janice Haan went as far to say it’s discriminatory to prevent access to the plans.
Republicans aren’t buying that the waiver won’t have negative consequences, noting that government watchdogs have repeatedly found Obamacare marketplaces susceptible to fraud, allowing illegal immigrants to receive subsidies.
“The president and his party said a great many things about the Affordable Care Act that clearly did not turn out to be true, this would be one more,” California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The GOP congressman said Democrats’ argument isn’t valid and taxpayers would likely be left on the hook. Said Issa:
Our view was the likelihood of fraud is high, and there is nothing to stop somebody, a guest to this country – legal or illegal – from purchasing health care, so it does seem to be a false premise, because the premise isn’t can they buy healthcare, they already can, like car insurance. So, it’s really a question of something for which there would clearly be a subsidy and it becomes a question of subsidizing health care for people who are unlawfully in this country.
This report, by Juliegrace Brufke, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.