California lawmakers are trying to pave the way for undocumented immigrants so they can buy health insurance through the state exchange market, potentially setting a precedent nationwide. The merger of undocumented immigration and the Health Insurance Act, two of the most highly charged elements of the periodic table of US policies could generate a combustible reaction, especially in an election year.

Covered health insurance to undocumented immigrants

Now, however, some families of California and advocates are pinning their hopes on a bill by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that would open the door for undocumented immigrants to buy health plans exchange market Covered California. However, unlike most consumer market they would not have federal dollars to help buy them.

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That, say many observers, the proposal makes a rather symbolic gesture, since most undocumented immigrants would not be able to pay the premiums without financial aid. The bill Lara was approved by the Senate last year, and is being taken up this year by the Assembly.

The bill faces a number of obstacles.

In fact would not allow illegal immigrants buy insurance through the state market. Only it requires the federal government exempt California from the rule prohibiting such purchases. Are the feds who have the floor? If the feds were to give the green light to the plan, Covered California will be the first exchange market in the country to sell insurance to undocumented immigrants, a possibility that is not welcomed by critics of illegal immigration.

There is no apparent legal reason why the feds would not sign such a request, said Tim Jost, an emeritus professor of law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. However, it could generate some significant political fireworks, especially in a presidential election year, he said.

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But Katherine Hemp stead, a senior counselor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the fact that no federal dollars would be involved makes it a less hot topic. “It’s just another distribution channel he said. Before Lara’s proposal even reach the federal level, must first pass the legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. Some health policy experts believe the bill has a decent chance of passing through the political hierarchy of California.

At the federal level, the Health Insurance Act provides a renunciation of innovation, which allows states, with the federal approval, modify certain articles of the health reform law in order to expand coverage. Such changes should have no net effect on the US budget, so that federal subsidies are excluded from the bill Lara.

An analysis of the waiver proposal, submitted by staff members Covered California to the board exchange market earlier this month, estimated that enrollment would increase by about 50,000 if undocumented immigrants could purchase coverage in the exchange market. After all, they can already buy private plans through agents or directly from insurers, but do not hurry to do so, said Alex Hernandez.