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Biden administration says 100,000 new immigrants expected to sign up for ‘Obamacare’ next year

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 100,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children are expected to enroll in Affordable Care Act health insurance next year under a directive the Biden administration released Friday.

The measure took more than promised to finish and did not follow through with Democratic President Joe Biden’s initial proposal to allow those immigrants to enroll in Health insurancethe health insurance program that provides almost free coverage to the poorest people in the country.

But it will allow thousands of people, known as “Dreamers,” to access tax breaks when they sign up for coverage after enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplace opens on Nov. 1, just days before presidential election.

“I am proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing them with the support they need to succeed,” Biden said in a statement Friday.

While it may help Biden boost his appeal at a crucial time among Latinos, a crucial voting bloc he needs to tap to win the election, the move sparked criticism among conservatives about the president’s border and immigration policies.

The move opens the market to any participant in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, many of whom are Latin.

Xavier BecerraThe country’s top health official said Thursday that many of those immigrants have delayed getting care because they haven’t had coverage.

“They incur higher costs and debt when they finally receive care,” Becerra told reporters on a call. “Making Dreamers eligible to enroll in coverage will improve their health and well-being and strengthen the health and well-being of our nation and our economy.”

The administration’s action changes the definition of “lawfully present” so that DACA participants can legally enroll in the exchange.

Then-President Barack Obama launched the DACA initiative to protect immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents as children from deportation and to allow them to work legally in the country. However, “Dreamers” were still ineligible for government-subsidized health insurance programs because they did not meet the definition of having a “legal presence” in the US.

The administration decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility for those immigrants after receiving more than 20,000 comments on the proposal, senior officials said Thursday. Those officials refused to explain why the rule, which was first proposed last April, it took a long time to finish. The delay meant immigrants were unable to enroll in the marketplace for coverage this year.

At one point, there were as many as 800,000 people enrolled in DACA, although now that number is approximately 580,000. The administration predicts only 100,000 will sign up because some can get coverage through their workplaces or other ways. Some may also not be able to afford coverage through the marketplace.

Other classes of immigrants, including asylum seekers and people with temporary protected statusThey are already eligible to buy insurance through the marketplaces of the ACA, Obama’s 2010 health care law, often called “Obamacare.”

He Last year, the president also released a regulation. which was intended to defend against legal challenges to DACA; Former President Donald Trump moved to end the policy, and it has bounced back and forth in federal courts. Last fall, a federal judge said the current version can continue at least temporarily.

“President Biden and I will continue to do everything in our power to protect DACA, but it is only a temporary solution,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Congress must act to ensure Dreamers have the permanent protections they deserve.”

Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt on Friday criticized the decision to allow DACA participants access to health care markets, saying the Republican presidential candidate would “seal the border, stop the invasion and expand economic opportunity.” for American citizens, not illegal aliens.