June 23, 2023

Castro, Jayapal, Booker, Hirono, and Durbin Lead 80 House and Senate Democrats in Push to Extend ACA Eligibility to DACA Recipients

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Senators Cory Booker (NJ), Mazie Hirono (HI) and Dick Durbin (IL) led 80 House and Senate Democrats in a comment letter expressing support for the Biden administration’s proposed rule to extend eligibility for ACA coverage and certain other federal health insurance programs to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress specified that eligibility for premium tax credits would be available to “lawfully present” immigrants. However, when the DACA program was created, the Department of Health and Human Services excluded its recipients from federal health coverage. Today, DACA recipients are uninsured at a rate of three to five times the general population. In April 2023, the Biden administration announced a proposed rule that would allow DACA recipients to be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit, cost-sharing reductions, and other federal health benefits if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

In the letter, lawmakers wrote: “This policy under the proposed regulation would benefit the entire country, by increasing the risk pool for health insurance programs which would likely lower premiums. In addition, a large portion of DACA recipients are medical and health professional students who will play a critical role in the U.S. health care system in the future, and they deserve the same access to health care. Their access to health care during their education is vital to growing the health care workforce. Furthermore, a broad range of stakeholders, hospitals, doctors, consumer groups, unions, and faith voices, support this proposed rule. It also makes technical corrections to simplify and clarify eligibility for vulnerable children and other immigrants with humanitarian statuses. While Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship for those without status, this proposed policy is a significant step in supporting individuals who came to the United States as children. We strongly encourage you to finalize and implement this important policy so that individuals and communities can experience its benefit as soon as possible.”

The letter was additionally signed by Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Andrea Salinas (OR-6), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Cori Bush (MO-1), Darren Soto (FL-9), David J. Trone (MD-6), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), Delia C. Ramirez (IL-3), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Dwight Evans (PA-3), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-31), Grace Meng (NY-6), Greg Casar (TX-35), Greg Stanton (AZ-4), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), James P. McGovern (MA-2), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Jason Crow (CO-6), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (IL-4), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), John Garamendi (CA-8), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Judy Chu (CA-28), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Katie Porter (CA-47), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Lori Trahan (MA-3), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Melanie Stansbury (NM-1), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Morgan McGarvey (KY-3), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Nikema Williams (GA-5), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7), Pete Aguilar (CA-33), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Robert J. Menendez (NJ-8), Ruben Gallego (AZ-3), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-3), Terri A. Sewell (AL-7), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Veronica Escobar (TX-16) Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9) and Senators Alex Padilla (CA), Ben Ray Luján (NM), Benjamin L. Cardin (MD), Bernard Sanders (VT), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Edward J. Markey (MA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Jacky Rosen (NV), Jeffrey A. Merkley (OR), Mark Kelly (AZ), Patty Murray (WA), Robert Menendez (NJ), Tim Kaine (VA), and Christopher S. Murphy (CT)

To read the full text of the letter, click here.