Biden to expand some migrants’ access to health care: officials

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to announce that his administration is expanding eligibility for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act Exchange of health insurance companies for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States illegal as childrenaccording to two US officials briefed on the matter.

The promotion enables contributors in the Obama era Deferred action for infancy arrival Program or DACA to access government-funded health insurance programs. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter ahead of Thursday’s official announcement.

The DACA initiative of 2012 was designed to protect immigrants from deportation brought illegally to the United States by their parents as young children and allow them to legally work in the country. However, the immigrants were still not eligible for government-subsidized health insurance programs because they did not meet the definition of “lawful presence” in the United States. Biden’s Ministry of Health wants to change that by the end of the month.

The White House action comes as the DACA program runs legal danger and the number of beneficiaries under the program is shrinking.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an estimated 580,000 people were still enrolled in DACA at the end of last year. This number has decreased compared to previous years. Court orders are currently preventing the US Department of Homeland Security from processing new applications. The DACA program has been mired in legal challenges for years, while Congress has been unable to reach consensus to broader immigration reforms.

DACA recipients can legally work and pay taxes, but they have no legal status and are denied many of the benefits available to US citizens and US resident aliens

In recent years, millions of people across the United States have signed up for Medicaid, the program that provides health care to the poorest Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government increased federal subsidies to lower the cost of plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplace. According to HHS, just 8% of Americans were without health insurance last year.

But DACA recipients, as well as those in the country without documentation, are barred from participating in these government-funded programs. About half of the roughly 20 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States are uninsured Research by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While there is bipartisan support for enacting some form of protection for the immigrants, negotiations have often stalled over debates about border security and whether expanding protections might tempt others to try to enter the US without permission. Biden, a Democrat, has repeatedly urged Congress to open a route to citizenship for immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children.

Other classes of immigrants – including asylum seekers and people with temporary protection status – are already eligible to purchase insurance through the marketplaces of the ACA, former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, often referred to as “Obamacare.”

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