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1 million illegal aliens enrolled in Obamacare?


(NaturalNews) Taxpayers are on the hook for providing health insurance coverage, via the Affordable Care Act, to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, thanks to the Obama Administration's lack of effort to prevent them from being covered by ensuring that they remain in the country.

According to The Washington Times, administration officials have slow-walked "revoking Obamacare coverage for people who can't prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency," thus permitting perhaps 1 million of the estimated 13 million illegal immigrants in the country "to continue enjoying taxpayer-funded benefits, a Republican senator charged" recently.

"The Obama administration is bending over backwards to give Obamacare to illegal immigrants but won't protect hardworking American citizens who are losing their health care coverage," said Sen. David Vitter, of Louisiana, who has been an outspoken critic of President Obama's healthcare law.

"The Obama administration has been granting deadline extensions, making excuses and turning a blind eye to falsified documents by illegal immigrants," he added. "Enough is enough, and they need to provide answers to why they think illegal immigrants should be eligible for Obamacare."

In a rebuttal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which manages parts of the health law and its various coverage programs, disagreed, noting that the law specifically bans coverage for illegal aliens.

Administration is dragging its feet

However, as Vitter pointed out, the administration's efforts to actually verify citizenship or, at a minimum, legal status of applicants who are applying through state-based exchanges, has gone on far beyond the March 31 deadline to sign up for coverage.

The Times reported that nearly 1 million people who applied for coverage but had what the administration termed "immigration data-matching issues" have been given half a year to provide the government with immigration documents while they are still being covered, the centers said.

In addition, the administration has pledged to require all illegal immigrants to reimburse taxpayers for any Obamacare benefits they used during the extended time to check their documents.

Vitter, in a letter to Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, demanded to know how the agency actually verifies immigration status of applicants and Obamacare recipients, as well as what further steps are taken to ensure that the illegal aliens repay taxpayers.

The Times further reported:

He questioned the agency's failure to set a firm date for sending cancellation notices to those who fail to produce immigration or residency documents by the established Sept. 5 deadline and the special 60-day extended enrollment period for those who miss the deadline.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the CMS, told the Times that the Obama Administration has made great strides in verifying immigration status and documents, and had indeed sent out cancellation notices just recently to some who had yet to produce the required paperwork.

Thousands remain unaccounted for

"We are committed to assisting consumers and protecting taxpayers by helping to ensure those who are enrolled in Marketplace coverage meet the eligibility requirements," Albright told the paper. "CMS did not give individuals who did not respond to our final warning notice an additional 60 days to respond. As we announced two weeks ago, 115,000 people who did not respond to our many contacts and still did not submit information have received a letter stating that their last day of Marketplace coverage is Sept. 30."

Anyone submitting documents and other information confirming their eligibility for benefits after the deadline could be allowed to apply for coverage during a special upcoming enrollment period, CMS officials said.

In his response, Albright referenced a report by his department indicating that it had "received hundreds of thousands of documents" prior to a September 5 deadline, which decreased the number of cases from about 966,000 at the end of May to 115,000 by September 14.

"To date, 115,000 individuals with citizenship and immigration data-matching issues have not responded to our numerous contacts and will be receiving notices saying their last day of federal marketplace coverage is September 30, 2014," the report said.

Still, Vitter stood by his questions and is awaiting answers, the Times reported.





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