“If they can afford it, they should be able to go into the marketplace and buy it.”
Hillary Clinton has officially come out in favor of expanding the Affordable Care Act to all people living and working in the United States, including undocumented immigrants. During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the Democratic presidential hopeful stated that everyone should have access to health care without a problem. It’s worth noting that Hillary Clinton made it a point to iterate — and reiterate — her stance, which is that undocumented citizens should be allowed to access health care but they should not be allowed to use any subsidies or discounts to access the health care. That is very important and notable distinction.
What’s the difference?
Why is it an important distinction? Well, if you are a 25-year-old living in a place like Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood and you make $17,000 a year (just above the Medi-Cal threshold, which you still wouldn’t qualify for because of your immigration status) then your health care costs would be $150 a month for the cheapest plan. And what would you pay if you were allowed to have the subsides? $3. Seriously.
So how did the topic even come up? While campaigning in Utah, Chelsea Clinton was asked by a voter whether her mother would be willing to help undocumented people access ACA.
“She [Hillary] does believe, though, that while working towards comprehensive immigration reform, we should not make people wait like the families you are talking about, which is why she thinks it’s so important to expand the Affordable Care Act to all people living and working in the United States regardless of immigration status,” Chelsea Clinton responded.
But, Hillary Clinton hasn’t always believed this. Her call for expanding ACA are remarkably different from comments she made as First Lady, saying that the health care system should be protected from “illegal aliens” that were coming to the US at the time.
It’s great that Clinton’s opinions have evolved in the decades since. But this is still just a promise, and Latinos are still justifiably disillusioned with the broken promises made to Latinos by the Obama administration. Let’s hope Hillary Clinton will be different, assuming she wins the nomination of course.