Biden Administration to Expand Healthcare Coverage for DACA Holders

Written by

Sunaina Malik

Fact check by

Divyansh Chaudhari

Updated on

Jul 25,2024

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In a country where healthcare is considered a fundamental right but millions of natives are denied this crucial service because of their immigration status is a position where much can be done, but there is little that changes. The winners of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, who, despite their contributions to society, have always been unable to get affordable healthcare coverage, are the other examples. The Biden administration realized the severity of this issue and has not only amended health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for DACA holders but also plans to increase coverage. 

This program not only differs from a policy pivoting but implies the health challenges fought by DACA recipients will be the fulcrums on which the program pivots. The decision to provide DACA holders with access to healthcare through the ACA is of great importance.  First of all, it is necessary to remember the history of DACA, the challenges the holders of this program face in getting healthcare, and the wider consequences of extending ACA coverage to this deserving group. Afterwards, we shall examine what implicates the lifetime of DACA grantors as well as the struggling spirit of the drive for healthcare equality in the United States. 

New Healthcare Initiative for DACA Holders

In a significant move aimed at improving healthcare access for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the Biden administration has announced plans to expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision marks a crucial step towards addressing the healthcare needs of DACA holders, who have long faced barriers to affordable coverage.

Background on DACA and Healthcare Challenges

In 2012, the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was enacted under the Obama administration, and it provides a shield from deportation and permits employment for undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. as small children. Despite DACA's advantages, the recipients have still encountered many difficulties in the healthcare system because of their immigration status. A lot of DACA beneficiaries were ineligible for Medicaid, and there were difficulties in getting insurance plans that were reasonably priced through the health insurance marketplace created under ACA. 

Biden's Commitment to Healthcare Equity

Joe Biden, the current president, repeats many times that his purpose is to ensure that Americans have access to healthcare without any obstacles related to the immigration status of their legal status. These positive achievements of the president during these four years comprise the ACA strengthening as well as the Medicaid maintaining projects. DACA's healthcare continuation covers all aspects of Biden's campaign to create a fairer and more equitable society. 

Key Components of the Expansion

In the new scheme, DACA holders will be able to join the ACA marketplace and get health coverage through it.  Here, they will have the chance to enrol in affordable health insurance plans. The ensuing increase will offer a chance for tens of thousands of DACA beneficiaries to benefit from life-saving healthcare coverage, which includes preventive care, medication, and mental health care. On the other hand, it is to be noted that the plan is going to provide really much financial assistance in paying for hospital services and other medical expenses of those who are qualified. 

Impact on DACA Recipients and Communities

It is anticipated that the extension of medical care for DACA holders will prove itself to be a considerable gain for them as individuals and the communities with which they identify. The initiative will guarantee that all DACA recipients have access to a full range of healthcare services; thus, they will overall be healthier and will lead healthier and more productive lives. In addition, it will facilitate the burden on welfare programs and health facilities that have always been the major portrayers of preventative and primary care services for undocumented individuals. 

Overcoming Legal and Political Challenges

While the Biden administration's decision to expand ACA coverage for DACA holders represents a significant advancement, it may face legal and political challenges. Critics of the initiative argue that providing healthcare benefits to undocumented individuals could strain the healthcare system and exacerbate existing tensions over immigration policy. Additionally, legal battles over the eligibility of DACA recipients for federal benefits could complicate the implementation of the expansion.

Advocacy and Support for the Initiative

Although there may be some obstacles, the growth of healthcare coverage for DACA holders is backed by a majority of advocacy groups, healthcare providers and lawmakers. These stakeholders comprehend the role of healthcare availability for everyone, the citizenship immigration status detachment, and they appreciate the Biden administration's initiated approach to rectify the problem. Reversely, the fight is not over yet.  Engagement and advocacy that remain can be effective in making the DACA recipient's healthcare access secure and safe. 

Long-Term Implications

The ACA extension for DACA recipients shows that healthcare equity and immigrant rights are paramount for the people who dedicate their lives to this country. Through the provision of opportunities for the affordability of healthcare services, the initiative not only uplifts the state of the lives of DACA recipients but also contributes towards the shared aspiration of creating a welcoming and inclusive society. As the Biden administration is still working on healthcare reform, initiatives such as this one are proof that policy can bring positive change and be the basis of the human right of healthcare. 

To learn more about the healthcare coverage for DACA holders and other facilities for all immigrants in the US, you can turn to TerraTern for all your immigration needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is DACA, and why is healthcare coverage important for DACA holders?

DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that came to existence in 2012 and grants temporary protection from deportation and work eligibility for persons who entered the United States whilst being kids but without documentation. Healthcare coverage is a very important thing for DACA holders as it provides access to the necessary medical services like preventive care, prescription drugs and mental health treatment which are very significant for their health and well-being.

What are the main challenges DACA recipients face in accessing healthcare?

Though the DACA brings its long-term benefits, applicants frequently face healthcare barriers because of their immigration status. A lot of DACA holders are not eligible for Medicaid and, therefore, the same is true for affordable insurance through the ACA marketplace. On top of that, legal status doubts or a to-be-deported fear can prevent individuals from applying for medical services.

How will the expansion of ACA coverage benefit DACA holders?

The expansion of ACA coverage will enable DACA holders to enrol in affordable health insurance plans through the marketplace, providing access to vital healthcare services. This initiative will help thousands of DACA recipients obtain preventive care, medication, and mental health treatment, while also reducing financial burdens associated with medical expenses.

What impact will the expansion have on DACA recipients and their communities?

All in all, the extension of health insurance coverage to DACA recipients will likely provide great gains for everyone, not only for the beneficiaries themselves but also for the communities of which they are a part. By granting access to a wide spectrum of healthcare services, the initiative will contribute to the general betterment of the DACA recipient's health and well-being, introducing them to the life of consistent health. Furthermore, it will ease the pressure on the safety-net providers and healthcare facilities that have largely been responsible for undocumented individuals.

What legal and political challenges might arise from this expansion?

Though the Joe Biden administration's decision to extend the ACA coverage to DACA holders is a great development, it may encounter legal and political problems. One of the often mentioned arguments in favour of health care assistance for unauthorized immigrants is that this strategy may bring costs-constraining effect given that funds will be redistributed to health care services for the welfare of this immigrant population. As a result, this argument will tend to deepen the immigration policy controversies. Additionally, we should stick to the fact that several legal complications could also arise about the DACA beneficiaries’ ability to obtain federal benefits which might be among the obstacles to the development of the DACA expansion.