Add non-Obamacare government health insurance to the benefits that foreign nationals currently illegally present in the United States could receive should President Obama’s November 2014 executive action be determined constitutional in the courts.
If implemented, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability) would grant legal status to an estimated five million foreign nationals illegally present in the U.S.
“These immigrants are not eligible for health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act [commonly known as Obamacare], but Californians who are granted DACA or DAPA become eligible for comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage under state policy if otherwise eligible based on income,” reads a March joint report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Medi-Cal is California’s form of the federal Medicaid program.
That joint report details the number of potential new DACA and DAPA recipients eligible for Medi-Cal at between approximately 360,000 and 500,000. This reflects the estimate that some 57% of those eligible for DACA or DAPA “lacked private health insurance and had income below the Medi-Cal eligibility threshold in 2013.” However, these are estimates, and the number could be higher or lower depending on a number of variables including estimates of the number of illegal aliens that exist in the state, how many apply for DACA and DAPA, and how many apply for Medi-Cal and meet the criteria.
According to the report, “Approximately half of low-income undocumented Californians are already enrolled in restricted scope Medi-Cal, which covers emergency and pregnancy-related services for undocumented residents under a long-standing federal policy.”
Between 2.2 and 3.2 million “undocumented” aliens are currently illegally present in California according to the joint AC Berkeley-UCLA policy study. Of those, between 1.23 and 1.57 million are estimatedto be eligible for either DACA or DAPA.
The study also provided a chart indicating that, as of 2013, only 30% of potential DACA applicants were 18 years old or younger. Another 61% were in the 19-29 range and 9% were 30-44. Approximately 190,000 or 62% of those in California eligible for the first wave of DACA have had their applications approved, the study estimates. The great majority of eligible DAPA recipients are between 30 and 44 at 67%.
The recent decision from Texas Judge Andrew Hanen ordered a halt to implementation of President Obama’s executive action over questions of its constitutionality.
Echoing a recent assertion made by Representative Luis Gutierrez, the joint study pushes the idea that Judge Hanen’s decision will be overturned. However, the study cites “immigration policy experts” in that assertion, then links that reference only to the progressive National Immigration Law Center (NILC), an advocate for legalization of illegally present aliens.
During the Los Angeles stop on Representative Luis Gutierrez’s cross-country DACA/DAPA tour, Saturday, March 21, one woman asked what would happen if her kids got hurt or sick since they are not on Obamacare. AB 60 illegal alien driver license and programs specialist Carlos Leon told the potential DACA/DAPA applicant that “there is insurance available for undocumented individuals and it does not have to be Obamacare.”
Under ‘policy implications,’ the study makes the case that “providing comprehensive coverage will build upon availability of existing federal and state funds,” claiming, “the state’s eligibility policy will also contribute to a healthier California workforce.” The study claims “previous medical expansions,” have been associated with lower death rates and overall general better health. A 2012 study was widely circulated claiming a similar result.
However, multiple other reports correlate Medicaid with lack of sufficient or effective healthcare. The Heritage Foundation reports, “A number of academic studies over the years have illustrated that Medicaid patients have consistently had poor access to care and that Medicaid fails to meet important needs.”
Medicaid expansion is also large part of the plan to extend health insurance under Obamacare, comprising more than half of that new coverage, according to a 2012 Manhattan Institute report.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana