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California Congressional Republicans Urge Blocking Obamacare for Undocumented Immigrants

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Covered California information brochures are displayed during a health insurance enrollment fair in Richmond, California, in March 2014. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Several California congressional Republicans want the Obama administration to block the state's request to sell health insurance to undocumented immigrants on the state's exchange.

The move comes after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill earlier this month authorizing California to formally request a waiver from the Affordable Care Act provision that bars undocumented immigrants from any of the law's benefits. Under a waiver, undocumented immigrants would be able to purchase Covered California health insurance -- but they would not be eligible for subsidies. They would only be able to purchase insurance with their own money.

Nine of California's 14 Republican representatives have signed a letter to cabinet officials appealing to them to deny this waiver. The representatives called California's request "a brazen attempt to circumvent the will of Congress."

The letter went on:

The issue of extending coverage to illegal immigrants on the healthcare exchanges was the subject of vigorous debate during the drafting and passage of the ACA.  Both the American people and lawmakers were repeatedly promised illegal immigrants would not be able to receive coverage under the law.

In a statement, State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, author of the measure, called the law "a zero-cost proposal" and that the move by the representatives "reveals the signers for what they really are: fringe, anti-immigrant obstructionists who ... are clearly out of touch with the reality in California where several immigrant integration measures -- including this waiver -- were approved in both legislative houses with bipartisan support."


The Affordable Care Act allows federal agencies to grant waivers beginning next year.

The nine signatories to the letter are:

Rep. Darrell Issa
Rep. Tom McClintock
Rep.  Ken Calvert
Rep.  Dana Rohrabacher
Rep.  Duncan Hunter
Rep. Doug LaMalfa
Rep.  Paul Cook
Rep.  Ed Royce
Rep.  Mimi Walters

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