Washington state illegal immigrants just got a Merry Christmas present from the Biden administration in the form of medical insurance. Using a State Innovation Waiver, The Evergreen State was able to circumvent the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) legal citizen rule and will soon offer the undocumented another benefit once reserved for citizens.
Health Insurance for Immigrants Could Cost Millions Per Year
“Washington has requested a waiver in order to expand access to qualified health plans, stand-alone qualified dental plans, and a state affordability program to Washington residents regardless of immigration status,” HHS and Treasury announced in a joint statement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services explained that Section 1332 in the ACA allows states to use the waiver to “pursue innovative strategies for providing residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the basic protections of the ACA.”
“This waiver is an important step toward providing affordable health insurance coverage for all Washingtonians,” Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said. “Access to health care not only helps strengthen families, it also improves our overall health care system and our state economy.” But how much will this cost?
Chris Pope, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute told The Center Square the cost will depend on many factors, but could reach as much as $1 billion per year. Some considerations include the income level of those who enroll for the health benefits and whether subsidies that are financed through the American Rescue Plan are renewed as well as made available to the undocumented. Pope explained that “for 2020, the Congressional Budget Office estimated $53 billion in subsidies for 9 million enrollees, which would be just under $6,00 per enrollee,” the outlet reported. So, if this were the average subsidy per capita, then this “new pool” of about 105,000 new enrollees would cost taxpayers “a little less than $630 million annually.” Pope hypothesized, however, that the “per capita” would likely be more in the state with a price tag of around $1 billion per year instead.
From housing, food, driver’s licenses, and now health benefits … What is left to deter migrants from entering the country illegally? Elizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center warns these changes can affect health care in the state:
“Extending subsidies to undocumented immigrants is another step toward government-run health care, which is a state goal. But when we make more people dependent on taxpayer-financed health care — in this and other ways — it increases the costs and can weaken the system for others. Undocumented people should continue to be able to buy health insurance on the private market. I’d add concern that this will make Washington state a welfare magnet for undocumented people who anticipate high medical bills.
“In the bigger picture, health care is a need we all have. We need more people prioritizing it and devoting money to it in their budgets — not more people dependent on taxpayers.”
Officials have already allocated $50 million for fiscal year 2023 for a program called Cascade Care Savings, which offer premium subsidies to those who make up to 250% of the federal poverty level and use Washington Healthplanfinder to get their plans. With the approval of the waiver, another $5 million will become available. The waiver will be effective for five years starting Jan. 1, 2024, and lasting through Dec. 31, 2028.
The Evergreen State isn’t the only one to use this waiver to provide immigrants with resident-only medical insurance. About 20 others have either received or applied for them, including Alaska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Georgia.
Do you have an opinion about this article? We’d love to hear it! If you send your comments to [email protected], we might even publish your edited remarks in our new feature, LN Readers Speak Out. Remember to include the URL of the article along with your name, city, and state.
Please respect our republishing guidelines. Republication permission does not equal site endorsement. Click here.
Liberty Nation Today:
A Sneak Peek
Will Misinformation Remain a Potent Weapon for Progressives? - A mighty champion of the leftist-loving misinformation game has fallen. - Read Now!
Narratives Not Unity in Biden’s State of the Union - The president delivers a horse drawn up by committee. - Read Now!
Undetected Spy Balloon Reveals Dangerous Strategic Gap - Chinese balloons can carry devastating weapons. - Read Now!
The New Spin: Kamala Harris Is Victim of the Vice Presidency - Her shortcomings can no longer be denied, and so they must be contorted. - Read Now!
Netflix Advertising EVs: Woke Becomes New Product Placement - Here is a sneak preview into the future of content creation and consumption. - Read Now!