The Biden administration has extended eligibility of the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, at the request of Washington state’s government, which would allow the state to provide illegal immigrants with health and dental insurance, Fox News Digital reported.
In May, Washington state submitted a State Innovation Waiver to the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services to extend insurance benefits to illegal immigrants.
The USDT and HHS approved Washington’s waiver last week, expanding ACA eligibility to noncitizens from 2024 through 2028.
In a joint statement, Treasury and HHS told Fox News Digital, “Washington has requested a waiver in order to expand access to qualified health plans, stand-alone qualified dental plans, and a state affordability program to Washington residents regardless of immigration status.”
“The waiver will help Washington work towards its goals of improving health equity and reducing racial disparities by expanding access to coverage for the uninsured population through the state Exchange, all the while not increasing costs for those currently enrolled,” the statement added.
At the beginning of the year, Washington allocated $50 million to subsidize health care coverage for legal residents. The state projected that starting next year, it will allocate approximately $5 million for illegal immigrants.
Similarly, Colorado provides health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants residing in the state but does not do so through the federal ACA program.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, an administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told the Washington Times, “Health care should be accessible, affordable and delivered equitably to all. We are pleased to approve Washington’s Section 1332 waiver to expanded coverage and access to qualified health plans.”
Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) called the change in ACA policy “a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
According to Washington officials, the measure will only allow illegal immigrants access to the ACA marketplace but will not provide them with federal tax subsidies. However, they could be eligible for state subsidies.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) reacted to the approval by stating, “Access to health care not only helps strengthen families, it also improves our overall health care system and our state economy.”