The Congressional Budget Office said that it is likely that some illegal immigrants would gain access to healthcare under a reformed system, but shied away from a specific analysis because legislation in the Senate Finance Committee has not been firmed up.
CBO says access may reach some illegal immigrants
In a letter sent to Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, the CBO said that under the assumption that the health reform bill would have strong enforcement mechanisms to keep illegal immigrants from getting federal subsidies, “we also assumed that there would be some noncompliance resulting from misreporting of income, family circumstances or other qualifying conditions to obtain more generous subsidies.”
Illegal participation by unauthorized immigrants, the CBO said, would fall into this category.
Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has said that his reform package would bar illegal immigrants from participating in components of an overhauled healthcare system even while Republicans have charged that such provisions need to be shored up. Under the legislative framework, unauthorized immigrants would not be eligible to participate in a newly created health insurance marketplace, nor would they be allowed to receive tax credits for coverage.
The CBO projects that the population of nonelderly, unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. will reach 14 million in 2019, with about 60% of them lacking any insurance. Under current law, roughly 5 million of them would have some level of coverage, either from an employer or through a government program, the CBO predicts. A final 1% would have coverage under Medicaid.
But without a full legislative text, the CBO said it could not fully estimate how many would enter the system. Republican committee members plan to introduce several amendments to strengthen the current blueprint.
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