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Obama Assures Latinos That Relatives Won’t Get Deported Because They Sign Up for Obamacare

"People will look back and say that this was the right thing to do. And at that point the Republicans won’t call it Obamacare anymore.”

by
Bill Straub

Bio

March 6, 2014 - 6:07 pm

WASHINGTON – President Obama carried his healthcare reform message directly to Latinos on Thursday, urging the members of that vast community to obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act before the approaching March 31 deadline.

Speaking at a forum conducted at the Newseum in downtown Washington and broadcast over several Spanish-language media outlets, the president offered assurance to Latinos concerned that utilizing the newly established insurance exchanges could somehow lead to the deportation of undocumented relatives, asserting “I’ve got their back.”

“The main point that I have for everybody watching right now is, you don’t punish me by not signing up for healthcare,” Obama said. “You’re punishing yourself or your family if in fact there’s affordable healthcare to be had.”

Told about one individual in particular, a mother who expressed alarm that she could face deportation if she enrolled her children, who happen to be citizens with the health exchange, the president said she “should not be fearful.”

“There’s no sharing of the data from the healthcare plan into immigration services,” Obama said. “You should feel confident that if somebody in your family is eligible, you should sign them up.”

Obama carried his message to the Latino community at a crucial time for the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare.” A disastrous rollout of the program last October left enrollment lagging. If an insufficient number of individuals sign up for the program, financial problems could ensue, rendering the insurance pool unsustainable.

Under the law, individuals are required to obtain government approved health insurance policies to offset potential medical costs. Failure to do so could lead to a fine. To offset costs, the federal government, 15 states and the District of Columbia have established exchanges so consumers can pick-and-choose their policies. In some instances the government is providing subsidies to ease the cost burden.

The Obama administration has been targeting Latinos, traditionally one of the president’s most loyal constituencies and one that finds itself in need of healthcare coverage. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Latinos are uninsured at a much higher rate than the U.S. population overall. About 16 percent of all nonelderly U.S. citizens and others lawfully residing are uninsured. Among Latinos, the total reaches 24 percent.

In all, about 10.2 million Latinos are eligible for the exchanges. Of that number 8.1 million – 80 percent – are thought to qualify either for tax credits to purchase coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

But there has been a reluctance on the part of the community. Non-documented individuals in the country illegally are not eligible for Obamacare and Latinos already are wary about the large number of individuals who have either been deported or face deportation.

Obama sought to assure Latinos that signing on to Obamacare won’t bring immigration officials to the door looking for associates. But several people expressed suspicion nonetheless and the president was pressed several times about the number of deportations. Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino group, recently referred to Obama as the “deporter-in-chief.”

The president told the audience that he has ordered immigration authorities to focus their efforts in deporting those who have criminal records or a history of gang activity. Otherwise there’s little he can do about the situation without congressional action to clarify the situation.

“Until Congress passes a new law, I am constrained as to what I can do,” Obama said.

Obama urged the Latino community to avoid waiting until the last minute to sign up for coverage, noting that if too many individuals delay until right before the deadline the enrollment website, Healthcare.com, could jam up. He said the deadline, which already has been extended once, will not be extended further.

The law is working well, Obama said, but more states – like Florida and Texas – need to act to expand Medicaid eligibility so that the less affluent can obtain coverage at limited cost.

The town hall was held a day after the Obama administration announced delays in implementing other parts of the law.

Obama found himself in hot water, and the target of criticism, when it was determined late last year that an estimated 1.5 million consumers with substandard plans could lose their coverage – this after the president had promised for months that “those who like their coverage can keep their coverage.”

The administration moved to permit those with substandard policies to keep them for another year. This week the White House extended that for an additional two years, to 2017.

Critics insisted the extension was implemented because the 1.5 million consumers in question could lose their coverage prior to the November election – complicating the political picture for the Democrats. On Thursday, Obama said a complex law like Obamacare simply requires a little “smoothing out.”

Regardless, the president said more than 4 million people have signed up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act thus far and he is “very proud” of the achievement.

“In five years, 10 years from now, people will look back and say that this was the right thing to do,” he said. “And at that point the Republicans won’t call it Obamacare anymore.”

But the GOP is still working to make sure Obamacare doesn’t exist for another 10 years. This week the Republican-controlled House again attempted to derail – at least temporarily – the Affordable Care Act by passing the Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals (SIMPLE) Fairness Act, which provides everyone with a one-year reprieve from the individual mandate.

Obama already has granted a one-year extension to large businesses who, under the law, are required to provide health insurance to their fulltime employees. Republicans have argued that everyone deserves that extension.

“The president has unilaterally rewritten the law to give corporations a pass while leaving the rest of America on the hook for its costly mandates and penalties,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The proposal, expected to go nowhere in the Senate, “extends basic fairness to every American facing a penalty for opting out of this train wreck,” Boehner said. “If the president cannot even implement his own law, how can he ask struggling families to pay for it? The president owes all Americans the same consideration he has granted big businesses and he can start by calling on Senate Democrats to pass this measure so he can sign it immediately.”

Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Translation: All you illegal aliens are doing a bang up job invading, getting on the government sugar tit, and helping to destroy American culture. I need you to do one more thing.

Sign up for Obama tax, which will help you get on the voter rolls. Now, you illegals like government stuff right? Those nasty Gringos will pay for it in more taxes.

Viva Via! Viva Zapata!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama should be deported for signing the country up for Obamacare.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"You trust me, don't you"

"When I talked about punishing our enemies, haven't I shown I'm willing to do that?"


"I'm not coming after you.....today."

Unless, of course...you don't vote properly. Or you attend the wrong meeting. Or criticize this administration in any way.

Trust me. I have your back. It's the one with the great big bullseye on it.

Because I have a pen, I have a phone...and your fate can change at my whim.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (28)
All Comments   (28)
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They will be signed up to the Democrat voter rolls/database....not deported.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
He'll get the Latinos to sign up so they can pay for those who are on Medicaid. Wait til they find out he's lying to them too, think they'll vote for another demonrat?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
For once he is not lying!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey Obama. While you're at it why don't you go get all the folks living in Hati, Dominican Republic and Mexico to sign up too. We are a country run by idiots.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
The current administration/DOJ may not deport them but a more conservative one would and should.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whaaa? If I was a citizen of another country in the USA illegally, I would refrain from putting my name and address in any USA data base. The wheels of justice grind slow...
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is he lying again? Maybe not, he wants Demo votes.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sorry.... I don't believe a word this charlatan says.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would someone please explain to him that he is NOT President For Life (we hope).
He can't make official promises with more than a two year life span.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
You sure that Obama Assured Latinos That Relatives Won’t Get Deported Because They Sign Up for Obamacare?

Wasn't it that relatives would get deported UNLESS they sign up for ObamaCare?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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