California’s health care exchange is requesting that it be allowed a waiver from ObamaCare regulations in order to allow illegal immigrants to buy insurance on the exchange – which would make California the first state to extend ObamaCare to illegal immigrants.
In a Sept. 30 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Covered California’s Executive Director Peter Lee said that the Affordable Care Act has been “tremendously successful” in the state and has cut the rate of uninsured in half.
“While millions of Californians have benefitted from coverage purchased through the Covered California marketplace, certain individuals are prohibited from buying insurance through our state marketplace due to their immigration status,” Lee wrote, before requesting the waiver.
The Affordable Care Act technically bars illegal immigrants from insurance exchanges, but in June Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that allowed the state to apply for a federal waiver to open Covered California to illegal immigrants living in California. The bill’s sponsor said such a waiver would allow 390,000 illegal immigrants to receive health insurance.
However, even if the Obama administration green-lights the waiver, the insurance plans that would be offered – California Qualified Health Plans – would not be subsidized.