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Press Release Published: Jul 18, 2023

McClain Opens Hearing on Expanding Healthcare Benefits to DACA Recipients

WASHINGTON—Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) opened today’s hearing titled “Why Expanding Medicaid to DACA Recipients Will Exacerbate the Border Crisis” by examining how the Biden Administration is seeking to rewrite laws to extend taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits to DACA recipients. Subcommittee Chairwoman McClain emphasized that this proposal would exacerbate the crisis at our southern border.

Below are Subcommittee Chairwoman McClain’s remarks as prepared.

I now recognize myself for an opening statement.

Today we are again conducting oversight of yet another disastrous policy decision by the Biden Administration that will only exacerbate the crisis along our southern border.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a rule to extend Medicaid, CHIP, and Obamacare eligibility to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients in in direct contradiction to Congressional intent. 

Once again, Biden Administration officials are seeking to rewrite the laws through agency rulemaking because they know their policies are not supported by the American people and would not be able to pass in the House nor the Senate.

Instead, they are proposing a rule with dubious legal basis to provide taxpayer-funded federal health benefits to individuals who have entered the country illegally. 

Even President Obama understood this much when his Administration determined in 2012 that DACA recipients should not be eligible for Medicaid.

A federal judge has already deemed the entire DACA program—which was unilaterally created through nothing more than an agency memorandum—unlawful.  DHS is currently prohibited from accepting further applicants by a court order.

Despite this, the Administration proceeds with a plan to spend hundreds of millions of more taxpayer dollars on healthcare benefits for DACA recipients.

CMS’s own estimates show that the expansion will increase state expenditures for Medicaid and CHIP by $40 million and federal expenditures would expand by another $60 million per year.

And that does not even include the proposed Obamacare expansion which is projected to cost another $15 million per year.

And you know who the Biden Administration expects to pay for it?

The American taxpayers.

Further, the Biden Administration’s proposal will incentivize future illegal immigration.

The Biden Administration has chosen to prioritize illegal immigrants over the American people. 

I simply do not understand it.

These funds could be used to provide better health care to the American people.

That is why we must stop this Administration from rewarding illegal immigrants at the expense of American citizens.

We must ensure that Americans are being put first.

By definition, DACA recipients are still—and always were—unlawfully present in the United States.  The Biden Administration cannot simply alter this fact.

In extending federal benefits to illegal immigrants, President Biden is signaling to the rest of the world that, not only will the U.S. not enforce laws preventing illegal immigration, but illegal immigrants will be rewarded with federal benefits.

We should not reward individuals unlawfully present in the United States with benefits that were created for American citizens and those who are lawfully present in the country.

The Biden Administration is responsible for one of the worst crises in recent memory along our southwest border.

By extending federal benefits to illegal immigrants, the Biden Administration is once again pouring gasoline on an out-of-control fire that will only incentivize more illegal immigration.

Such reckless and tone-deaf policies have become the status-quo for this Administration.

With that, I want to thank Dr. Montz for being here today. We look forward to your testimony.

Now I yield to Ranking Member Porter for her opening statement.