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Biden Administration to Expand Medicaid and ACA Health Care Access to DACA Immigrants
The Biden administration on Thursday announced a plan to expand health care access for beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). According to the administration’s announcement, DACA recipients will become eligible to apply for Medicaid and to enroll in Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges.

DACA beneficiaries are not currently eligible for those benefits because their immigration status does not meet the current definition of “lawful presence” required to enroll in Medicaid and the ACA exchanges. Under the administration’s plan, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is preparing a new rule to amend that definition by the end of the month. ​​The proposal will be a significant expansion for the DACA program, which allows some “dreamers” — immigrants who arrived in the country as minors — to live and work in the United States. 

The action by the administration is likely to generate significant pushback from conservative leaders of states that have been reluctant to expand Medicaid and critical of the Biden administration’s response to migrants who enter the U.S. illegally. While the federal government provides funding and guidelines for Medicaid, the program is administered at state level.

The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to formally issue a proposed regulation to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income DACA residents soon.

Last Reviewed: June 2023