Washington, DC – On September 30th, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) introduced the Exchange Inclusion for a Healthy America Act of 2015 and spoke on the House floor about his new legislation.
The bill subjects everyone to the individual mandate to carry insurance and lifts restrictions in the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – that require individuals to be “lawfully present” in order to buy into the health care insurance exchanges. So those not covered by insurance through their employer, regardless of immigration status, would have to purchase health insurance through the exchanges provided they establish state residency and file taxes (which most immigrants already do). They would also have access to subsidies, if they qualify.
“The goal is to make integration and inclusion real for millions of families that are locked out under current law,” the Congressman said in his floor speech. “As it stands right now, undocumented immigrants are not subject to the individual mandate and cannot buy into health insurance exchanges even if they use their own money. My legislation will change that. It says that we stand for inclusion.”
He continued: “As a nation, we all benefit when we spread the risk, require younger, healthier workers to join our exchanges with the rest of us, reduce the costs of compensating hospitals for caring for the uninsured, and decrease the number of uninsured who live and work here.”
Recalling the Pope’s message to Congress just last week – about adhering to the Golden Rule – the Congressman said, “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means moving forward with no restrictions on which brother and sister and neighbor we think of as ‘eligible’ or ‘deserving.’”
A summary of the Exchange Inclusion for a Healthy America Act of 2015 is pasted below, as are the remarks from the Congressman’s floor speech (as prepared for delivery).
A video of the Congressman’s speech is here:
Rep. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Co-Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.