Sebelius Says Amnesty Needed to Increase ObamaCare Enrollment
Speaking Thursday at an event in Philadelphia, hosted by a Latino community service group, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius revealed that the success of ObamaCare is dependent upon the passage of comprehensive immigration reform and amnesty.
Susan Jones at CNS News reported Friday that, when asked if the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) will help “undocumented individuals,” Sebelius responded that it would not, and that this is the reason why immigration reform is so important.
"Well, the (Obamacare) bill is crafted in such a way that those who are undocumented will not have access to the tax credits or shopping in the (health insurance) marketplace,” Sebelius told Latinos at an event sponsored by Congreso. “That has been limited, which is, frankly, why -- another very keen reason why we need comprehensive immigration reform."
Sebelius went on to say, “Unfortunately, you can’t fix – we won’t fix the immigration system, unfortunately, through the health care bill, but I think having the immigration bill that passed the Senate, pass the House, would be a huge step.”
The immigration bill that passed the Senate would allow at least 11 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. First, however, they would gain provisional legal status.
According to CNS News, Sebelius recommended that, until illegal immigrants can access ObamaCare, they continue to obtain medical care at community health centers where they will find federally funded, “culturally competent” health care providers “who actually speak the language and can reach out to a neighborhood.
”Sebelius also announced that the Obama administration has doubled the size of the Public Health Service Corps, “which, to me, is one of the great, well-kept secrets in America. It’s like the Peace Corps for health workers,” she said.
“If you agree to serve in an underserved area, the federal government helps pay off the student loans and debt that a lot of health professionals carry,” Sebelius explained. “And what we find is that when people actually take up service in the National Health Service Corps, they stay in the communities that they are serving long beyond their assignments. So there will be continued access for undocumented.”
When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was also asked about “dealing with folks who may not have all their documentation in order,” he also indicated that illegal immigrants already have access to health care in this country.
“Even through the worst of the recession, we did everything we possibly could to minimize any negative impact on our health centers,” Nutter said. “We have eight health centers across the City of Philadelphia, and they were last, last, last on any list to get any reductions, although we made cuts all over the city government.”
The mayor also announced that he had signed an executive order that directed city government workers “that you cannot deny someone service…just because you may be in an undocumented status.”
“And I signed that executive order specifically to make sure that while folks are trying to deal with their paperwork and dealing with immigration and all those folks over there at the federal side, that’s not our responsibility,” Nutter added. “Our responsibility is to provide service. Anyone who shows up, who’s in this city (applause) and so folks – and so people should continue to come, certainly, to our health centers.”
Nutter further said that Philadelphia is “doing our best in trying to provide services to folks, notwithstanding any language challenges, documentation status. If you are here, it is our job to try to provide the best, high-quality service and care that we can as a local government. That’s our commitment.”
Sebelius said that Latinos comprise about 25 percent of individuals who are eligible for new coverage in the exchanges.