Posted on May 7, 2024

Biden Expands Obamacare to ‘Dreamers’

Rafael Bernal, The Hill, May 3, 2024

The Biden administration announced a rule Friday morning that will allow certain “Dreamers” to access the ObamaCare marketplace.

Under the rule, active recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be eligible to enroll in a qualified health plan or a basic health plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and some forms of financial assistance.

“This final rule reflects the president’s key commitment to protecting ‘Dreamers’ and DACA recipients. He is focused on providing them with the support they need to thrive and reach their fullest potential,” Neera Tanden, director of the Domestic Policy Council, told reporters Thursday.

“This final rule also reflects the president’s belief that health care is a right — not a privilege — for all Americans, that it should extend to DACA recipients just like the rest of us.”


Still, DACA is mired in lawsuits. Though the Supreme Court nixed the Trump administration’s efforts to end it, a Texas federal judge declared the initial memo that created it illegal, and that same judge in September ruled against the Biden administration’s efforts to recodify the program as a federal regulation.

The program’s final fate is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court, but for the time being, the federal government is barred from adding new beneficiaries to DACA.

As of September, there were 544,690 enrollees, though the Migration Policy Institute estimates 1,161,000 people would be eligible for DACA as of 2022.

DACA recipients had previously been excluded from ObamaCare benefits, though other foreign nationals in deferred action programs were not.


CMS estimates the new rule will lead to 100,000 newly eligible DACA recipients enrolling in either a marketplace plan or a basic health program.