Biden announces plan to 'expand health coverage for Dreamers'

April 16, 2023
Robert Ayers

President Joe Biden has just announced a plan that would give so-called "Dreamers" access to government-funded - and thus, taxpayer-funded - health care. 

"Dreamers" refers to those individuals who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Background: DACA

DACA is a government program that was created by former President Barack Obama through executive action.

The U.S. government explains DACA like this:

DACA is a policy that delays the deportation of people who came to the U.S. as children if they do not have documentation. DACA protection is temporary, and it is not automatic. You must file a DACA request and ask for renewal before it expires. DACA recipients may also be eligible to receive work authorization.

Currently, there are said to be about 600,000 individuals enrolled in the DACA program.

But, the program is believed to have benefited at least a million illegal immigrants - who would otherwise have been deported - since its inception.

In 2021, a U.S. district court did deem DACA "illegal." But, the court allowed those who entered the program on or before July 16, 2021, to remain.

Biden's plan

Now, Biden is looking to give DACA-enrolled individuals access to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

Biden announced in a video message on Thursday.

"When President Obama and I created the DACA program, we knew it would transform lives and it has. Bringing stability and possibility to hundreds of thousands of young people known as Dreamers, brought to America's children. This country is the only home they've ever known," he said.

Biden added, "So today, my administration is announcing our plan to expand health coverage for doctor recipients by allowing them to enroll in a plan through the Affordable Care Act or through Medicaid. Health care should be a right, not a privilege."

What now?

It appears that implementing Biden's plan will be U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Becerra has released a statement on the matter, saying:

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted a proposed rule that expands access to health coverage by removing a barrier to health care faced by DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. If finalized, the rule would allow DACA recipients to enroll in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), and the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces.

It is expected that the plan could cost the American taxpayer upwards of $2 billion - if not close to $3 billion.

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