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January 29, 2013

Philip Klein: Immigration reform could boost cost of Obamacare by hundreds of billions


Over at The Examiner today, Phillip Klein points out another reason why passing an immigration bill this year is unlikely: immigration reform could represent a massive expansion of Obamacare, potentially costing hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

As the Washington Post's Sarah Kliff details, legalizing immigrants who are currently in the country illegally could make millions of them eligible for Obamacare. Though the exact number is difficult to pin down for a number of reasons, and we don't know how many immigrants would obtain legal status as a result of any reform package, one Congressional Budget Office report estimated that 7 million to 8 million illegal immigrants would be uninsured after Obamacare because they won't qualify for benefits. If this population were legalized and became eligible, it would mean increasing the number of Obamacare beneficiaries by over 20 percent. (The CBO has estimated that Obamacare would cover 36 million people either through the Medicaid expansion or the exchanges.)
More here.

Klein aptly figures that if there aren't enough provisions in the legislation to prevent immigration reform from becoming a de facto expansion of Obamacare, it's unlikely to have enough GOP takers to pass.

Posted by Hyscience at January 29, 2013 4:53 PM

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