California Committee Passes Bill to Allow Illegal Aliens to Join State Obamacare Exchange

Federation for American Immigration Reform / July 21, 2015

Last week, the California Assembly Committee on Health passed Senate Bill 4, which may allow illegal aliens buy health insurance on California’s health care exchange established under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). (Breitbart, July 15, 2015) The Committee passed the bill with a party line vote, of 12-6. (S.B. 4 History; Breitbart, July 15, 2015)

While the legislation establishing Obamacare generally bars aliens without “lawful presence” from participating in exchanges, S.B. 4 requires the state to apply for a waiver from the federal government in order to allow the state to enroll illegal aliens in the California Health Benefit Exchange. (S.B. 4; PPACA § 1332) If the federal government grants such a waiver, S.B. 4 would allow illegal aliens to enroll in the state Obamacare exchange. (S.B. 4)

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, commented on S.B. 4. “A bill like this is a camel’s nose. If you see a camel’s nose under the tent, it’s not too long before the whole camel will be in the tent,” he said. (Politico, July 17, 2015) “Or the tent will be on the ground.” (Id.) Don Rosenberg, a retired entertainment executive and concerned California resident, explained his opposition to the bill. “The issue really comes down to, the more you offer, the more will come,” said Rosenberg. (ABC News, June 17, 2015) Currently, California has the highest population of illegal aliens in the United States, estimated in 2014 to be almost 3 million. (FAIR Report) Illegal immigration to the state was also estimated in 2014 to cost California taxpayers over $25.3 billion annually. (Id.)

The debate over SB 4 comes on the heels of other legislation California has adopted to help illegal aliens in California get taxpayer funded health care. In June, Governor Jerry Brown and members of the democratically controlled legislature crafted a deal to give illegal aliens in the state, under the age of 19, access to Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for low income earners. (Legislative Update, June 23, 2015; S.B. 75) The plan, which was incorporated into the legislature’s budget, requires California taxpayers to cover the entire cost of health care for this class of illegal aliens. (S.B. 75)

The full Assembly must pass S.B. 4 before it can be sent to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval. If signed into law, California may become the first state to allow illegal aliens access to its Obamacare health exchange. S.B. 4 would go into effect January 2017. (S.B. 4)

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