Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair on Obamacare for Illegals: 'Not at This Time'
On Wednesday, House Democrats renewed their push for an immigration bill to be brought to the floor, and although members from both parties favoring passage for such legislation appear confident a bill will surface in the lower chamber in the near future, Democratic members are hesitant to discuss how the issues of immigration reform and Obamacare may intersect at this point.
During an immigration press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D–TX), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told reporters, “Let me set the record straight: comprehensive immigration reform is not dead in the House.” As he stood among other Latino Democratic lawmakers, Hinojosa said, “The time for excuses is over. The time for action is now.”
Illegal immigrants are not currently eligible to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges. However, according to Hinojosa, that may change in the future.
When asked by Breitbart News if he would want immigration reform legislation to allow these illegal aliens to be covered under Obamacare, Hinojosa initially refused to answer and only remarked, “Affordable health care is already written. Those who are undocumented do not qualify.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made a similar statement in May. "It is stated very clearly in the Affordable Care Act, [and] it is our position in the immigration bill: no access to subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. Secondly, no access to Medicaid; no cost to the taxpayer," Pelosi said at the time. "That has always been the Democratic position."
However, when later pressed by Breitbart News on the same question again, Hinojosa replied, “Not at this time.”
The Center for Immigration Studies notes that uninsured illegal immigrants will not face any financial consequences that American citizens must deal with for not having health insurance.
Granted, illegals aren't supposed to be able to enroll in the Medicaid welfare program or collect a subsidy under Obamacare. But illegals can still get "free" health care (i.e., paid for by taxpayers or private insurers, or written off as bad debt by providers) in emergencies. Their U.S. citizen children qualify for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Five immigration bills have passed through different House committees, but Speaker John Boehner has yet to bring a bill to the floor. When asked Wednesday by reporters about the issue, Boehner responded, “I still think immigration reform is an important subject that needs to be addressed, and I’m hopeful.”