Covered California takes step to bring illegal immigrants into the pool

Covered California takes step to bring illegal immigrants into the pool

Covered California, the Golden State's version of Obamacare, took a significant step on Thursday toward providing undocumented immigrants with government-subsidized health insurance.

Immigrants living in the U. S. illegally constitute the largest single group that is still on the outside looking in to get covered for health care. Taking a step in that direction, Covered California's board sought a Section 1332 waiver that covers so-called "innovation" in exchange designs.

If the state Legislature approves the waiver proposal, then it will be considered by the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Covered California's chairperson, Diana Dooley, who is also the state's secretary of health & human services, said, "This is somewhat symbolic. But symbolism is important."

The move is being seen by healthcare advocates as a green light to bring illegal immigrants into the pool. A measure to provide illegal immigrants with health coverage is already in the Legislature. Advocacy group Health Access California's executive director Anthony Wright said the health exchange's analysis suggested that the goal is feasible and that it could be done this year.

As per Covered California, nearly 1.5 million state residents are ineligible for Affordable Care Act health coverage or Obamacare because of their immigration status. The estimated figure accounts for more than 40 per cent of all uninsured individuals in the state.