California Dems Lobby Obama to Expand Obamacare to Illegal Aliens

Obamacare enrollment (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

California Democrats are pushing President Barack Obama, as well as both Republican and Democrat legislators, to make an exception allowing illegal aliens to purchase health insurance on Covered California, the state’s Obamacare health exchange.

If Obama agrees, he would break promises he made in 2009 that Obamacare would not cover illegal aliens.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), along with several other Democratic state legislators, want permission for California to violate a provision of the federal law. Lara sponsored a state bill to allow foreign nationals illegally in the U.S. to access the state health exchange; he previously succeeded in allowing illegal alien children onto public healthcare.

According to, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare): “Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible to buy Marketplace health coverage, or for premium tax credits and other savings on Marketplace plans. But they may apply for coverage on behalf of documented individuals.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) argued that adding illegal aliens to the healthcare exchanges won’t cost taxpayers “one penny,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

During his first campaign for president, when asked during a CNN presidential debate whether his health care plan covered illegal aliens, then-Senator Obama (D-IL) said that it did not. When pressed to explain why, he said “because I think we’ve got limited resources.”

Then, during a 2009 speech to a special joint session of Congress, President Obama said: “There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

On that point, he was interrupted by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who infamously shouted: “You lie!” He later apologized.

Lara, however has admitted that his ultimate goal is allowing all illegal aliens onto the health insurance exchange, according to the Times. And he has partially succeeded already.

In 2015 Lara managed to push through a $40 million dollar bill to put illegal alien children 18 and younger onto not only public health insurance, but also one state-subsidized Medi-Cal coverage. Lara originally sought such coverage for both adult and minor illegal aliens under the bill, SB 4, at a cost as high as $740 million. However, the final bill only covered minors.

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported: “In Los Angeles, 135,000 low-income county residents without legal U.S. residency status are assigned primary-care providers in a ‘medical home’ designed to coordinate their care. They get an ID card, use of a member-services hotline and a booklet akin to an insurance brochure that explains how to gain access to screenings, a clinic network for specialty care and prescription drugs.”

In a Sep. 12 letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, 37 members of Congress urged approval of the Innovation Waiver, which would allow illegal aliens to sign up for California’s Obamacare health exchange. Among the 37 signatories were: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Tony Cardenas, Rep. Susan Davis, Rep. Juan Vargas, Rep. Roybal-Allard and Rep. Maxine Waters.

In comments on health care reform posted to his website, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stated, “Providing healthcare to illegal immigrants costs us some $11 billion annually. If we were to simply enforce the current immigration laws and restrict the unbridled granting of visas to this country, we could relieve healthcare cost pressures on state and local governments.”

If the Democrats’ request is approved, California would become the first state in the nation to allow illegal aliens to access Obamacare, according to the Times.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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