DACA recipients could get access to health care coverage in new Biden administration plan
Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, could be eligible for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act in a new plan proposed by the Biden administration this month.
The Obama-era DACA program gives some undocumented people brought to the U.S. as kids temporary protection from deportation and a work permit, but no path to citizenship. It was established in 2012 and has benefitted more than 800,000 young people since then, including more than 20,000 Arizona residents. The Affordable Care Act was enacted two years before that, in 2010, but DACA recipients have been barred from it and other, federally-funded programs, like tuition aid for low income students.
In a video on Twitter, President Biden said many DACA recipients are business owners, essential workers, and military service-members. He said Congress should pass immigration reform to offer a citizenship path, but until then, his administration was moving to allow DACA recipients access to Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act.
Today, my Administration is announcing our plan to expand health coverage for Dreamers, the thousands of young people brought to the U.S. as kids.— President Biden (@POTUS) April 13, 2023
We’re not done fighting for their pathway to citizenship, but we're getting them the opportunities they deserve in the meantime. pic.twitter.com/4eqNMMNxtt
In an announcement about the plan, the White House said the Department of Health and Human Services was working on a proposed rule it expected to complete by the end of this month that would allow DACA recipients to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and their state's Medicaid agency.
"The Department of Health and Human Services will shortly propose a rule amending the definition of 'lawful presence,' for purposes of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage, to include DACA recipients," the statement read. "If finalized, the rule will make DACA recipients eligible for these programs for the first time."
Mario Montoya is a DACA recipient and research analyst with immigrants-rights group Aliento. He joined The Show to talk more about the move.