Matt Lewis

Underappreciated: The ObamaCare concession on immigration reform

As has been widely discussed here, despite Sen. Rubio’s efforts to introduce conservative principles to immigration reform, some conservatives fear it will turn into mere Amnesty.

The catch-22 is that with Congress divided, reform this important will only pass if it’s bipartisan. This, of course, means there will be compromise. But many conservatives doubt that Democrats will hold up their end of the bargain.

That remains to be seen, but President Obama has demonstrated a willingness to compromise on one key element of immigration reform — ObamaCare.

Here’s the backstory.

Sen. Rubio has been working to ensure that undocumented immigrants will not be eligible for any federal benefits should they earn an initial temporary status he envisions as part of an immigration reform effort.

But there’s a problem with this: Under current law, all it takes to be eligible for ObamaCare is for someone to be “lawfully present” in the United States.

Last week, however, Obama unveiled a plan that specified that, “people with provisional legal status will not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new health care law.”

On Telemundo, Obama echoed this, saying people with provisional legal status, “would not be entitled to the same subsidies– to obtain healthcare, for example, that a U.S. citizen– is able to obtain. That doesn’t mean that they can’t get healthcare, for example.  It means, for example, if they wanna pay out of pocket they could still join an exchange.”

Again, it’s too early to declare victory. But Obama’s willingness to concede that provisional legal status doesn’t entitle someone to ObamaCare benefits hasn’t gotten the attention it probably deserves.