EXCLUSIVE: Republicans Propose Banning States From Funding Health Insurance For Illegal Immigrants

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republicans in the House of Representatives will release legislation later Wednesday that would prohibit states from using federal pass-through dollars to fund health care for illegal immigrants.

The Biden administration approved a proposal in late June from the state of Colorado that allows the state to use federal funds to create a health care exchange accessible to illegal immigrants. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will provide Colorado $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to create health care exchanges under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act. Those exchanges are intended to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants, according to Colorado’s application to HHS.

Colorado Rep. Ken Buck’s bill, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller ahead of its introduction, amends Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to prevent states from using pass-through funds to provide health care to illegal immigrants. The legislation is co-sponsored by the other two Republican members of Colorado’s House delegation, Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn.

Read the bill here:

Ken Buck Bill by Michael Ginsberg

The federal government is currently prohibited under the Affordable Care Act from providing health insurance subsidies to illegal immigrants. This restriction bars them from signing up for health insurance under the exchanges established by the 2010 law. However, pass-through funds are not subject to the prohibition. (RELATED: Biden: We Have ‘Obligation’ To Give Illegals Healthcare)

“Instead of using section 1332 waivers as originally intended, to grant states flexibility to implement innovative health care solutions, Democrats are using the waiver program to make federally funded health insurance a reality for illegal aliens,” Buck told the Daily Caller of expanding the restriction.

“This is a slap in the face to American taxpayers who get up, go to work, and are fighting to survive amidst 9.1% Biden-flation. The needs of the American people should come first, not last.”

During debates over the Affordable Care Act, many Republicans expressed concern that the legislation would be used to fund health care for illegal immigrants. During his 2009 State of the Union address, then-President Barack Obama claimed that subsidies “would not apply to those who are here illegally.” In response, Republican South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson stood up and yelled, “You lie!”

More than 15 states have established health care exchanges under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. HHS is currently reviewing Washington state’s application to create a healthcare exchange that would also cover illegal immigrants.

“Families in Eastern Washington and across the country are struggling to make ends meet thanks to record high inflation and President Biden’s energy crisis that is driving costs through the roof,” Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce committee, said of her state’s proposal. “At the same time, this administration is signing off on state plans, similar to the one submitted by Governor Inslee, to use taxes from hardworking Americans to pay for the health insurance of undocumented immigrants. This is wrong, and I support this legislation to stop this unfair practice.”