“Some low-income immigrants who live here legally to qualify for subsidies”

A development:

Florida lawmakers backing expansion of the state’s Medicaid program plan to mount a new argument this legislative session: That voting against extending the program would deprive low-income U.S. citizens of access to insurance that is available to some legal immigrants.

At issue is a little-noticed provision of the federal health law that allows some low-income immigrants who live here legally to qualify for subsidies to help them buy private insurance through online marketplaces. Poor U.S. citizens are not eligible for those subsidies because the law provided for an expansion of Medicaid to help them get coverage. A U.S. Supreme court ruling made this provision voluntary, and Florida was among two dozen states that opted out, leaving an estimated 760,000 state residents ineligible for either subsidies or Medicaid.

“It doesn’t matter where you are on the immigration issue . . . It’s a fairness issue,” said state Sen. Rene Garcia R-Hialeah, who has introduced a bill in the legislative session that begins March 4 to accept billions in federal dollars to extend coverage to hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

But in a state with a large foreign-born population, the immigration issue injects a political wild card into a debate that has largely centered on ideological differences.

Ya think? Mixed metaphor aside, the reporters suggest Floridians can expect a barrage of ads on the respectable side of xenophobia.

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