A spin-off nonprofit with links to a top insurance company is pushing for Obamacare benefits to be extended to illegal immigrants.
The health-care exchanges and benefits like taxpayer subsidies for premiums are open to citizens and legal immigrants, but the California Endowment is trying to drum up support in California to formally extend Obamacare to the state’s undocumented immigrants as well. According the group’s website, it was created when Blue Cross of California split into the nonprofit California Endowment and the big-name, big-profit insurance company WellPoint Health Benefits.
And of course, WellPoint stands to benefit greatly from Obamacare. WellPoint-Anthem Blue Cross won the largest enrollment of any insurer on the California exchange, accounting for 30 percent of the state’s Obamacare sign-ups at the end of the open enrollment period April 15, according to the L.A. Times. They’re duly hiking premium rates by 4.6 percent for 2015.
But now the insurer-linked nonprofit is asking Californians to support a campaign to extend Obamacare to illegal immigrants — which would create even more Obamacare customers for the top insurer.
“1.4 Million Tax-Paying Californians are Denied Health Coverage,” according to brochures the group is handing out across California. The group claims that extending eligibility for the Obamacare exchange — and taxpayer subsidies — to “undocumented Californians” is another “basic human right,” according to the pamphlets.
“Now it’s time for our state’s leaders to finish the job so that all Californians, regardless of their immigration status, have access to affordable health coverage.”
According to The California Endowment, extending Obamacare eligibility to undocumented immigrants would expand coverage to up to 1.4 million more people. President Obama pledged that Obamacare benefits would not apply to illegal immigrants — inciting Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s infamous interruption — but the exchanges have so far struggled to handle the division between legal and illegal immigrants. (RELATED: Joe Wilson Says ‘You Lie’ Has Been Justified)
Legal immigrants, who are typically eligible for exchanges, have stayed away from Obamacare in droves. A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many legal immigrants fear signing up through the government exchange because it may cast light on relatives’ immigration status.
And still, HealthCare.gov alone — not including California, with its sizable legal and illegal immigrant population — has received close to 1 million applications for coverage with inconsistencies related to citizenship and immigration. The Obama administration has only resolved about half its backlog and has promised to cancel coverage for another 300,000 Obamacare customers if they don’t submit documentation by Sept. 5. (RELATED: Over 300,000 On The Brink Of Losing Obamacare Coverage)
The movement to expand Obamacare eligibility in California would directly benefit the nonprofit’s former ally, formerly WellPoint and now Anthem. WellPoint’s doing unexpectedly well in Obamacare exchanges so far this year, according to Forbes.