Obama urged to give DACA recipients access to affordable health care

A coalition of Latino groups are urging President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to provide affordable health care access to undocumented youth who’ve received…
Obama urged to give DACA recipients access to affordable health care

Latino leaders are urging Obama to allow undocumented youth benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to have access to affordable health care through the Affordable Care Act and a number of federal health care programs. (Shutterstock photo)

A coalition of Latino groups are urging President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to provide affordable health care access to undocumented youth who’ve received work permits under the president’s deferred action program.

Currently, undocumented immigrants are barred from receiving federal public benefits through the Affordable Care Act. That means they are not eligible for premium tax credits nor are they able to buy health care coverage through the marketplace. They are also not eligible for many federal health care programs, such as Medicare.

SEE ALSO: Health care options for undocumented immigrants are limited

In a letter sent to Obama last week, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) urged the president to allow undocumented youth who are benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be eligible for health care access through the Affordable Care Act and a number of federal health care programs.

“Administrative action is warranted in light of the chronic and severe lack of access to health care faced by the immigrant community, particularly Latino immigrants,” the letter by NHLA reads.

Under the DACA program, which was implemented in 2012, undocumented youth are given work authorization and reprieve from deportation. They’re also able to apply for a valid Social Security number, and some states allow them to get driver’s licenses.

But NHLA, which is made up of 39 national Latino groups, noted in the letter that due to recent changes made by the Obama administration, DACA recipients are “excluded from affordable health insurance options available to all others with deferred action.”

These changes, the group said, deny DACA recipients the opportunity to participate in health care programs that their tax dollars support. Those programs include the federal Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

SEE ALSO: Calif. senator wants to extend health care to undocumented immigrants

Furthermore, NHLA said that despite the “tremendous benefits” of the Affordable Care Act, Latinos continue to be one of nation’s most uninsured populations in part because many don’t qualify for health care programs due to their immigration status.

“As the majority of those granted DACA are Latino, the restrictions on access to affordable health coverage and care take a disproportionate toll on the health and opportunity of Latino immigrants,” the NHLA letter reads.

NHLA sent the letter to Obama as well as a number of White House officials, including Valerie Bowman Jarrett, senior advisor to Obama, and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council.