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Biden administration says 100,000 new migrants expected to enroll in ‘Obamacare’ next year | World news

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 100,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. as children are expected to enroll in Affordable Care Act health insurance next year under guidance the Biden administration released Friday.

The measure took longer than promised to complete and fell short of Democratic President Joe Biden’s original proposal to allow these migrants to sign up for Medicaid, the health insurance program that provides virtually free coverage to the poorest people of the country.

But it will give thousands of people known as “Dreamers” access to tax breaks when they sign up for coverage after enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplace opens on Nov. 1, just days before the presidential election.

“I am proud of Dreamers’ contributions to our country and want to provide Dreamers with the support they need to succeed,” Biden said in a statement Friday.

While it could help Biden broaden his appeal at a crucial time among Latinos, a crucial voting bloc he needs to win the election, the move led to criticism among conservatives of the president’s border and migrant policies.

The move opens the market to any participant in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, many of whom are Latino.

Xavier Becerra, the country’s top health official, said Thursday that many of these migrants have delayed care because they lacked coverage.

“They incur higher costs and debt when they finally get care,” Becerra told reporters on a call.

“Making Dreamers eligible for coverage will improve their health and well-being and strengthen the health and well-being of our nation and our economy.”

The administration’s action changes the definition of “lawfully present” so that DACA participants can legally enroll in the marketplace exchange.

Then-President Barack Obama launched the DACA initiative to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation and allow them to work in the country legally.

However, the “Dreamers” were still ineligible for government-subsidized health insurance programs because they did not meet the definition of a “lawful presence” in the US.

The administration decided not to expand access to Medicaid for these migrants after receiving more than 20,000 responses to the proposal, senior officials said Thursday. Those officials declined to explain why it took so long to finalize the rule, which was first proposed last April. The delay prevented migrants from registering with the marketplace for coverage this year.

At one point, as many as 800,000 people were enrolled in DACA, but now that number is about 580,000. The administration predicts only 100,000 people will actually sign up, as some may get coverage through their workplace or other means. Some may also not be able to afford coverage through the marketplace.

Other categories of immigrants, including asylum seekers and people with temporary protected status, are already eligible to buy insurance through the marketplaces of the ACA, Obama’s 2010 health care law, also known as “Obamacare.”

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