Health law doesn't cover illegal children

Sept. 18, 2012 at 7:50 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Young immigrants who stay in the United States under a recent directive by President Obama are not covered under the new healthcare law, the White House says.

The announcement was made last month to little notice and has angered immigrant advocates, The New York Times reported Monday.

The president said in June that children who were brought illegally into the United States by their parents and who attended school here would be allowed to stay without fear of deportation. At the same time, the administration sent letters to state health officials stating that such children would not be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Jennifer M. Ng'andu, a health policy specialist at the Hispanic rights group National Council of La Raza, said the administration's healthcare decision ran counter to the president's announced intentions to help young immigrants.

"We do not understand why the administration decided to do this," she said. "It's providing immigration relief to children and young adults so they can be fully integrated into society. At the same time, it's shutting them out of the healthcare system so they cannot become productive members of society."

The new healthcare law provides insurance subsidies to citizens and low-income immigrants "lawfully present" in the United States.

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