Statement on Biden Administration’s Expansion of Health Care Access to Dreamers

SACRAMENTO, CA – Below is a statement from Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, in response to the final rule issued today by President Biden to designate all with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) immigration status as “lawfully present”, therefore giving them full access to health care coverage through ACA health insurance marketplaces like Covered California.

California is home to approximately 165,000 DACA recipients, according to recent estimates from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and an estimated 40,000 of those would be eligible for affordable health care coverage under the new rule. Starting November 1st of this year, these Californians will be able to access to health coverage and affordability assistance through California’s state exchange, Covered California.

“This long-awaited and much needed policy change means more Americans getting the care and coverage they need, making our health system stronger for all. Starting in November, tens of thousands of Californians with DACA immigration status will finally get the same options and affordability assistance in Covered California as everyone else,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director for Health Access California. “As a result of this policy change, these Dreamers and their families will have more financial and health security, with access to primary and preventive care that will benefit our health system, public health, and economy for everyone.

“This federal action aligns with the decade of work in California to ensure health care access to all regardless of immigration status. California has made historic strides to remove immigration-related barriers to coverage, and now every income-eligible Californian can enroll in Medi-Cal. However, even with this action, hundreds of thousands of undocumented Californians are still barred from accessing Covered California, even to buy coverage with their own money. This new rule from the Biden Administration will remove this unfair exclusion for DACA recipients, but we still need state action to open Covered California to all.”