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Texas Democrat Congressman: Relax Obamacare ID Requirements for Immigrants

Texas Democrat Congressman: Relax Obamacare ID Requirements for Immigrants

A new letter signed by 26 Democratic congressmen asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make it easier for “mixed status” immigrant families to sign up for Obamacare. Democrats are being aggressive in their final push to boost enrollment numbers, which remain exceptionally low in Texas, as recently reported by Breitbart Texas. Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke co-signed the letter. 

“The rigorous identity proofing requirement for persons enrolling through healthcare.gov have not adequately taken into consideration the needs of mix-status families,” the letter said. “The requirements are keeping many low-income families from moving beyond this initial step, particularly in mixed-status families in which an undocumented immigrant is attempting to enroll eligible members of their families.” 

The letter complained about the steps that an individual signing up for Obamacare must go through to prove his or her identity. It said, “In order to create an account, an individual must first have his or her identity verified… Many immigrants have limited, and in some cases nonexistent, credit history, making this verification process difficult… When verification cannot be completed online or over the phone, consumers must mail or upload documents from a list of primary U.S.-government-issued documents that many immigrants do not have.”

The letter asked that the HHS accept “secondary documents,” such as rental leases, in order to verify identity and “make the I.D. proofing process more immigrant friendly.”

“Language access barriers” were also cited in the letter as a concern, since some immigrants do not speak English or Spanish. 

“Maximizing the enrollment before the approaching March 31 deadline should remain a top priority for the Obama administration,” the letter concluded. “We urge you to use the resources available to you to eliminate that barriers that immigrant families are facing on healthcare.gov so they may promptly enroll.”

The Obama Administration had high hopes for Obamacare enrollment numbers in Texas; those expectations have not been met. Breitbart Texas reported that as of March 1, 295,000 Texas residents selected coverage on the Marketplace, up from 207,500 on February 1. The actual number of enrolled Texans is likely to be significantly lower than the released figures state. Obama’s HHS can only count the number of individuals selecting plans on the online marketplace–not those actually paying for them. 

New federal data also highlights the lack of younger people signing up on the Marketplace. HHS officials previously insisted that the enrollment numbers for young adults would increase, but that prediction never materialized. Texans aged 55 to 64 currently make up the largest group of enrollees, at 26 percent. 

Governor Rick Perry, a vocal opponent of Obamacare, previously said, “I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.”

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate

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