Sanders advocating Obamacare for illegal aliens
Senator Bernie Sanders told the Hispanic Caucus that he would support allowing illegal aliens to purchase insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, but deny the illegals federal subsidies His advocacy comes on the heels of a proposal by Rep. Luis Gutierrez earlier in the week that would open the entire Affordable Care Act to all illegal aliens, including subsidies.
The Vermont senator, who is running a competitive race against Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, made the comments during a 45-minute meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, according to attendees. The 26-member group is comprised entirely of House and Senate Democrats.
Aides later said that Sanders believes that in certain cases, undocumented immigrants should be able to purchase health insurance through the exchanges set up under Obamacare, using their own money. The senator has not advocated allowing the undocumented immigrants to receive federal subsidies, his aides said.
The meeting, held in the Longworth House Office Building, was Sanders's first formal meeting with his Latino colleagues to talk about his presidential campaign, and the exchange came the same morning that his campaign announced raising $26 million during the third quarter, nearly beating Clinton's fundraising haul.
Clinton enjoys a wide lead among Hispanic Democrats and on Thursdayannounced the formation of "Latinos for Hillary," which will focus on building Latino support for her campaign.
Sanders's support for expanding the Affordable Care Act could put Clinton in a tough spot.
Federal law bars undocumented immigrants from enrolling in health-care exchanges. But on Wednesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a vocal immigration reform supporter, and other Democrats introduced a bill that would extend Affordable Care Act coverage to undocumented immigrants.
Gutierrez said Wednesday that expanding the law would create younger and healthier patient pools, likely leading to lower insurance costs for Americans already enrolled in insurance exchanges.
Sanders endorsed the concept during the meeting in response to a question from one of the caucus members, attendees said.
If the past is any guide, those illegals who would sign up for Obamacare would not be "younger and healthier.' They would be older and sicker thus further tilting the pool of covered persons even further toward insolvency.
But the real kick in the teeth would be millions more people flooding the expanded Medicaid program, which is already overburdened with millions of new clients. The already dysfunctional program would cost states billions more in health care costs, despite the federal government paying 90% of the costs of the new enrollees.
If Sanders and the Democrats want to hasten the demise of Obamacare, there would be no better way than to open up the program to illegal aliens.