New Rule Grants Health Care Access To DACA Recipients Through Obamacare

 May 3, 2024

In a significant policy change, the Biden administration has recently unveiled a new rule that will broaden healthcare access for DACA recipients via the Affordable Care Act.

Fox News reported that this adjustment will grant over 100,000 uninsured immigrants the ability to obtain health insurance just before the November elections.

For years, DACA recipients, also known as "Dreamers," were excluded from the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, which was a point of contention across political lines.

The term "Dreamers" comes from the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that offered similar protections and opportunities but never passed into law. These individuals will now be considered "lawfully present" under the new rule set to be published this Friday, marking a significant shift in their status regarding healthcare eligibility.

New Health Care Eligibilities For DACA Individuals

The change, which starts on November 1, enables these young immigrants to register for health coverage through and various state-operated marketplaces. The designation of DACA recipients as “lawfully present” under federal rules is crucial for this access, targeting the improvement of healthcare coverage among immigrant populations who are otherwise often left in vulnerable positions.

The announcement from the Biden administration emphasizes that this move is part of a broader initiative to support the DACA community, significantly impacting their day-to-day lives by providing basic health services that many Americans already enjoy. The President and his administration have been vocal about their commitment to strengthening DACA amidst ongoing legal challenges that threaten its existence.

Presidential Support For Dreamers

President Joe Biden articulated his stance in a statement, stressing the contributions Dreamers make to the nation.

He noted:

I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed. That’s why I’ve previously directed the Department of Homeland Security to take all appropriate actions to ‘preserve and fortify’ DACA. And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.

Meanwhile, Vice President Harris mirrored these sentiments, pushing for administrative support and permanent legislative measures to secure the future of DACA recipients. She emphasized the ongoing commitment of their administration to the cause, adding that while administrative actions are vital, Congress needs to provide a long-term solution.

Long-Term Security for Dreamers

The Democratic initiative indicates a continuation of the federal government's recognition of the challenges faced by immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. While previous administrations have introduced protective measures like DACA during Obama’s tenure, the term has also been characterized by significant political and legal disputes.

Legal reference to the DACA recipients' situation has been frequent at various judicial levels, culminating in a critical Supreme Court decision in 2020 that blocked efforts by the Trump administration to terminate DACA. This decision underscored DACA recipients' contentious and precarious position, highlighting the ongoing need for definitive legislative action.

Reminiscing the past, during a joint session of Congress under the Obama administration, opposition was vocal; a GOP congressman dramatically accused the act of aiding illegal immigrants, reflecting the depth of division on such policy matters.

As the new rule unfolds and begins implementation close to a pivotal election, it represents not just a provision of healthcare but a statement of policy direction that could resonate widely across different spectrums of the American socio-political landscape. The continued legal and political debates underscore a significant chapter in America’s ongoing dialogue about immigration, healthcare, and the rights of those who live within its borders yet often in the shadows.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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