Tags: Healthcare Reform | Immigration | Burwell | HHS | illegals | benefits | obamacare

HHS Chief's Comments Suggest Future Benefits for Illegals

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 06:18 PM

In a Sept. 9, 2009, speech to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama declared that his signature healthcare overhaul would not provide benefits to illegal immigrants. At that point, Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, jumped to his feet and shouted, "You lie."

"Wilson's action was inexcusable, but the suspicions behind it were entirely understandable," the Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote on Tuesday.

Republicans have long suspected that Obama wants to provide healthcare and other government benefits to illegals, and those suspicions have been heightened by the unilateral executive amnesty the president announced last week.

Comments made by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in an online chat with Latino bloggers earlier this month won't allay those concerns. She was asked whether young immigrants referred to as "Dreamers" would be eligible for Obamacare subsidies, and whether "mixed" families (such as ones with legal children and illegal parents) could receive benefits.

Although Burwell said Dreamers are ineligible, she left little doubt that she and other senior Obama administration officials want that to change.

"I think that everyone probably knows that this administration feels incredibly strongly about the fact we need to fix that," Burwell explained. "We need to reform the system and make the changes that we need that will lead to benefits in everything from healthcare to economics to so many things — a very important step that we need to take as a nation."

She said that families with illegal members can also receive benefits.

"Mixed families should come, they should seek and try, go on the site, they'll find out they can get financial assistance," Burwell said, adding that they might "be eligible for different programs for their children or themselves."

She emphasized that the government would not ask applicants about their legal status.

"Everyone should come on, and folks should not be scared," Burwell said. "No questions will be asked, and it is not about an immigration issue."

Coming from "the Cabinet officer in charge of administering the Affordable Care Act, Burwell's words left some Republicans convinced that it's only a matter of time before the White House breaks Obama's promise" not to provide Obamacare to illegals, York wrote.

"It's reasonable to assume that the administration would have no compunction about issuing some sort of regulatory guidance to HHS to make [immigrants affected by Obama's action] eligible for subsidies," a Republican aide on the Hill told the Examiner.

"The administration has sufficiently reinterpreted Obamacare and reinterpreted the immigration laws that it would not be at all surprising if they follow through on what Burwell said," the aide remarked.

Burwell's comments are similar to ones made earlier this year by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Johnson — the top federal official overseeing the agencies charged with enforcing immigration law — said in February that Obamacare applicants need not worry that signing up for coverage could result in deportation for family members illegally in the United States.

"I have heard that some Americans who are eligible to enroll in the Marketplace [Obamacare exchanges] are reluctant to do so because they fear that the information they provide on their health coverage applications will be shared with immigration authorities and used to deport their undocumented family members," Johnson wrote. "This is not true."

Administration officials "said that if an undocumented foreigner has one or more U.S.-born children, he or she may sign them up for Obamacare without fear of being identified by immigration authorities," Fox News Latino reported Feb. 28.

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In a Sept. 9, 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama declared that his signature health-care overhaul would not provide benefits to illegal immigrants. At that point, Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, jumped to his feet and shouted, You...
Burwell, HHS, illegals, benefits, obamacare
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2014-18-25
Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 06:18 PM
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