Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard led 81 of her colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to reverse Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’ policies restricting eligibility for health coverage to DREAMers granted deferred action through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
“These young people are Americans in every respect except on paper, and they deserve the same access to health care as all other children in this country,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Excluding them from services will not only deny these kids the care they need, but will also lead to increased health care costs for everyone if they are forced to seek care at the emergency room instead of a doctor’s office,” Roybal-Allard added.
In August, HHS issued an Interim Final Rule that will explicitly exclude youth granted deferred action from key features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including participation in the state health insurance exchanges. The Department has also taken action to prevent children and pregnant women who benefited from DACA from securing affordable health insurance under the state option available in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Prior to this August 28, 2012 HHS guidance, federal rules would have allowed DACA individuals, like others granted deferred action, to enroll in these affordable health coverage programs if otherwise eligible.