A California plan to expand health insurance to undocumented immigrants is creating a political stir. Already approved by the state Senate, the proposed legislation would allow los indocumentados (as they are known in Spanish) to buy private insurance on the state’s insurance exchange. However, even if the Assembly and Governor pass the law, it will still be subject to federal review and couldn’t be implemented at the earliest until 2017.
The 2010 federal health care law bans undocumented immigrants from buying into Obamacare plans even if they can afford to do so with their own money and don’t need subsidies. The California law wants to change that. The legislators supporting the bill and immigration advocates say that it makes no sense to bar those who can afford to buy health insurance from doing so just because they are undocumented. Under California law, undocumented immigrants can already buy private health plans not sold through the Obama exchanges.