Is Executive Amnesty is inexplicably tied to Obamacare?
On Monday of last week, the New York Times reported that Health and Human Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, projected 9.1 million enrollees in Obamacare by the end of the year. This is in stark contrast to the original projections by the Congressional Budget Office, which “had estimated that 13 million people would be enrolled next year, with the total rising to 24 million in 2016”.
The New York Times also noted that, “in the past, the White House has used the budget office numbers as a benchmark for success under the Affordable Care Act.”
Currently, enrollment stands at 7.1 million, down from the 8 million touted last year by Obama. This reduction stems from persons who failed to pay premiums or could not prove their identity and therefore considered ineligible.
Additionally, HHS curiously forecasted that “most of the new marketplace enrollment for 2015 is likely to come from the ranks of the uninsured,” and less likely from persons who had already been paying for their own insurance without the marketplace.
If enrollment is lagging so badly behind expectations, how could Obama possibly salvage numbers for Obamacare so that it could show a modicum of “success under the Affordable Care Act”?
Answer: Executive Amnesty.
Early estimates have put those who might benefit from Obama’s amnesty plan to be 3-5 million, a number that would neatly fit the amount necessary to bolster the fledgling Obamacare, which was Obama’s signature policy.
Now, if one goes to the healthcare.gov website, and hovers over the “Get Answers” tab, it opens up a tab which includes the section, “Coverage For…” Guess who is first on the list? Immigrants. Immigrants are listed ahead of “Young adults, Self-employed people, Unemployed people, People with disabilities, People with job-based coverage, Military veterans, American Indians & Alaska Natives, Pregnant women, Same-sex married couples, Retirees, and Incarcerated people.” (in that order). So if a immigrant was granted amnesty, the government made it very easy for him or her to get started.
Within the section under “Immigrants”, the website lists 17 types of immigrant status that makes one eligible for Obamacare. Furthermore, six more types of status are eligible if one has applied for a particular immigrant program, and yet another five more status types are able to enroll in Obamacare if they are coupled with employment authorization. That makes 28 types of immigrants who are eligible for an Obamacare plan already.
Now, to be fair, the website explicitly states at the bottom of the page: “Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible to buy health coverage through the Marketplace. They’re not eligible for premium tax credits or other savings on Marketplace plans.”
However, that’s where Obama’s 10-point Executive Amnesty plan comes in. Under this plan, “President Barack Obama is on the verge of granting executive amnesty and work permits to five million illegal immigrants, including the illegal immigrant parents of children who are American citizens OR previously received executive amnesty under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012.”
Now, the first thing to note about the relationship between amnesty and Obamacare is the part about DACA. On healthcare.gov, it states that “Deferred Action Status” is eligible for Obamacare, but also notes specifically on that same bullet point that “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not an eligible immigration status for applying for health insurance”. Now, if Obama implements his Executive Amnesty plan, those currently claiming DACA status will be able to suddenly attain Obamacare — allowing potentially many, many new subscribers here.
Another analysis from HotAir goes further in depth:
“One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.
That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces.”
Hence, if Executive Amnesty goes through, the warning on the healthcare.gov website regarding undocumented immigrants is no longer applicable to those who would receive protections; thus, they would be eligible to purchase an Obamacare plan.
As it stands now, a large number of legal immigrants are already using Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. In a report released just this past week from the Center for Immigration Studies, “immigrants have accounted for 42 percent of the growth in Medicaid enrollment since Obamacare began being implemented in 2011”. Furthermore, “The high rate and significant growth in Medicaid associated with immigrants is mainly the result of a legal immigration system that admits large numbers of immigrants with relatively low-levels of education, many of whom end up poor and uninsured.”
2011-2013 have proven to be successful for immigrant-related Obamacare signups; therefore, the likelihood for immigrants who receive amnesty to sign up for an Obamacare plan or product seems relatively high. As a very rough estimate number, if Obama was to grant amnesty to 5 million immigrants, (a middle estimate figure) and assuming the signup rate for Obamacare just among those immigrants is 42% (to stay on trend), then 2.1 million immigrants would sign up.
If HHS is predicting 9.1 million enrolled by the end of the year, and then potentially another 2.1 million can be also factored in, the White House is getting closer to the originally projected figures. Remember, “in the past, the White House has used the budget office numbers as a benchmark for success under the Affordable Care Act”, and the CBO had predicted 13 million by the end of this year, so adding immigrants newly eligible through Executive Amnesty will certainly help to salvage Obamacare numbers.
With the news this morning that Obama will announce Executive Action on immigration this coming Friday, it seems all the more likely that Executive Amnesty is tied to Obamacare. The White House has been mum about how many people have enrolled in the past few days of open enrollment season, suggesting that the number is low. An independent site, acasignups.net, back this assertion up.
At this point, no one in the Administration even cares about the cost anymore. It’s all about saving the legislation from abomination, no matter the pricetag or method. That’s probably why the CBO has not even bothered to score the impact of Obamacare on the deficit since 2012 — before Obamacare even began to be fully implemented! Of course, it’s not like anyone really believes either by now that Obamacare won’t add to the deficit.
Therefore, if the numbers so far this year are not meeting even lowered expectations for enrollment, then it is imperative to get the numbers up NOW. That is why Obama has decided to act on Amnesty so soon after Obamacare signups just began again — so stay tuned for Friday, and pay attention to how the Executive action affects immigration and Obamacare.