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Biden Administration Rolls Out Plan to Expand Healthcare Access for DACA Beneficiaries

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( Photo: Yahoo )

The Biden administration has announced plans to expand healthcare access for beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Joe Biden

Joe Biden ( Photo: PBS )

This will enable DACA recipients to apply for Medicaid and enroll in Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges

Currently, DACA beneficiaries are not eligible for these benefits because their immigration status does not meet the definition of “lawful presence” required to enroll. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is preparing a new rule to amend this definition by the end of the month.

The expansion is a significant move for the DACA program, which allows some immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors to live and work in the country. This change will benefit the program’s 580,000 existing beneficiaries.

However, younger Dreamers are ineligible to apply, and courts have blocked new applicants from accessing the program. Despite this, Biden’s expansion of ACA and Medicaid eligibility will make it easier for current beneficiaries to stay in the program and in the United States, particularly as older DACA recipients reach middle age.

The administration’s announcement has been met with enthusiastic support from Democrats pushing for DACA recipients to receive the same level of social services as other immigrants with work permits. The move is also a political perk for Democrats, who have called for expanded healthcare access for DACA recipients.

Some Democrats have pointed out that Dreamers risk losing access to other important social programs

Therefore, Congress is proposing to protect Dreamers’ access to federal housing loans. The hope is that there will be a snowball effect of access to social programs to protect Dreamers’ access to essential human rights.

The White House has stated that President Biden believes DACA recipients strengthen the economy and enrich workplaces, schools, communities, and the country as a whole. On his first day in office, he called on Congress to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship, and he has repeated that call in every State of the Union address since. While Congress has failed to act, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken significant measures to protect Dreamers.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has also stated that today’s rule would change the fact that 34% of Dreamers currently have no health insurance coverage. The move will enable DACA recipients to purchase qualified health insurance coverage, which is a basic human right.

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