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Obamacare Analysis: Immigrants and Enrolment Rates Essay

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Updated: Jun 5th, 2020

With the increasing costs of health care, the United States government has been drumming up support for Obamacare (Hill 10-14). However, the discussion around the issue is highly heated regarding who is supposed to enroll into the program (Pearson par. 2-3). Even the federal government has had to contradict itself several times on the issue before reaching at rather unclear decision-all residents of United States. This means that immigrants are also allowed into the program. This has not been welcome news to many people especially the conservatives and republicans (Pear par. 15).

This is what it means; immigrants who are both legal and illegal qualify. However, the government changed its mind on the issue indicating that immigrants will only qualify under special conditions, that is, when they are legally registered and lawfully residing in the US (Pear par. 3-5). This however angered many advocates who supported Obama in the last primary elections. With this, the government through executive orders made it open for all people especially the undocumented immigrants to join (Bessette and Pitney 2-3). This paper therefore seeks to explore the article by Pearson where issues around Obamacare and enrolment rates are discuused. Most importantly, this discussion will look at the issue in the context of eligibility, registration of immigrants as well as a personal opinion as to whether the system is justfied.

The incident that prompted discourse

The low number of immigrants that have been signing into the program has prompted discourse around the issue (Pearson par. 12). In most major cities where the number of immigrants is high, there are only a few immigrants who are willing to sign up. For instance, New York City has registered one of the lowest numbers of immigrants despite their number being four times the number of natives (Pearson par. 3). As it has been indicated, other highly populated states that have witnessed low enrolment rate of immigrants such as hispanics include California, Texas and Arizona. The unfortunate thing is that the enrolment ends at the end of March this year.

Aspects that I still want to know

In 2012, White House announced that young immigrants who qualify or who will be allowed to stay in the country for one reason or the other will not qualify or be eligible for Obamacare (Pearson par. 4-6). However, after some discussions with their representatives and human rights activities and protests from the United Nation, they were allowed to enroll. This however was greeted with mixed reactions. Some thinking it was a plot to document illegal immigrants and some thinking they would be deployed upon revealing their identity. Therefore, what I still want to know is whether their fears are true or whether they are well founded (Pearson par. 4).

Furthermore, I would like to know the reason why they were barred from enrolling, yet the president had earlier indicated that immigrants would be granted as long as they are “lawfully residents of United States (Sharma and Gielen 20-23). Being lawfully residents of United States, this under the law makes them entitled for government subsidies or programs such as obamacare. Previously, under managed care, there have been two types of network available to all Americans. That is, those people who can afford and those who cannot afford their own private cover. As some authors have previously indicated, the insurance plans especially for those who cannot afford forcibly direct people toward certain insurance companies they personally do not want. So, what I also want to know is whether obamacare will follow the some route or will be different.

My personal opinion

Each country usually set programs that aim to better the lives of its people and not others whichever name they call themselves-aliens, or immigrants. These programs are funded by the taxpayers money, in other words, it is usually like payback to the taxpayer. Then how can someone who has not even been paying tax be paid back. In addition, United States has always been pursuing a rigorous deportation strategy where all illegal immigrants are departed back to their country even without being given the chance to put their case forward. What then the sudden change of attitude.

This could be a way to document the number or identify illegal immigrants who are still undisclosed in order to deport them. The question then remains, if the current administration does give them some benefit of doubt, what will happen if the next administration does not. This could be a good way of identifying illegal immigrants to be deported at once. A good example would be in New York City where the number of Hispanics is so high and yet the enrolment is very small. In this place, previously before the current mayor took office, there was a “stop and frisk” policing method which was widely criticized for targeting young immigrants. Therefore, no young immigrant would take him or herself before people who are likely to incarcerate him for no good reason.

My educated/informed opinion

Every program made by the federal government though helpful to Americans, it usually has a strong political connotation around it. When the president announced the immigration policy, that is, highly conscious and respects the rights of all people, though indicated that immigrants, who are patriotic to America would be at liberty to work and express without any fear. He may have meant it. However, given that politics must have it way first, things changed forcing the white house to change its position on the issue. As things kept playing out, the president has had to change his mind on the issue over the risk of alienating swing voters particularly in the coming mid term elections in November this year.

It must be remembered that this states widely voted for the president in the last general election. In fact, the immigration law is not likely to go through the last stage of discussion in congress before the coming mid term elections. The informed reason for low rate of enrolment is that a good number of Latinos, who make the most part of illegal immigrants fear being deported. Another informed reason is that a good number of them do not even understand English.

Basing on this reason, it is difficult for them to even understand what is needed of them. The authors as well indicate that some of those who are lawfully in the United States also fear enrolling into the program as they fear being seen as a burden or public liability. As such, these immigrants are justified to register with caution although it is their right to access affordable health care (Orelli par. 1-3). The government therefore, should at assure them that the immigration bill which is still under debate will not discriminate them now that they are known.

Efforts made to disclaim the issue

With these concerns negatively affecting the success of the program, the federal government has come forward through different means to convince immigrants to enroll into the program. For instance, they have been assured that their immigration status will not be affected at all, even though these assurances have not in any way managed to encourage them to register. Individual states have also been undertaking some efforts to arrest the situation (Pipes 2-5). These efforts comprise translating English into their native languages such as Latin. In doing so, these states also make use of extensive Spanish-language campaigns just make the message understood. Some state officials have as well been using focus groups in order to encourage immigrants to register.

Background information

The issue of Obamacare can be traced back to the primary elections where it emerged that some people in America, though immigrants, are highly dedicated and working around the clock yet their loved ones die from preventable or curable diseases just because they lack affordable healthcare covers. Furthermore, it emerged that previously people on managed care were on different programs just like is the case with higher education an aspect that makes it hard for them to claim assistance or compensation in the case of an emergency. It was based on this that an inclusive and compressive healthcare plan now known as Obamacare was suggested. However, the issue of immigrants did not come up at that time until the last primary election between Obama and Romney (Pearson par. 23).

It was supposed to be a game changer, with President Obama supporting immigrants to enroll and Romney indicating that the law could create or attract more illegal immigrants. Therefore, it is this divided discourse between democrats and Republicans that has affected the enrolment rate of immigrants (Barnett and Burrus 14-15). In fact, in some state such as Arizona, the governed has already issued an executive order denying some benefits such as driving license to immigrants who enroll into the program (Pear para. 20-23). This move does not encourage people to enroll into the program.

Conceptual words employed

The article has a number of conceptual metaphors each with its own unique meaning when it comes to the issue at hand (Morgan par. 7-10). For instance, when the author indicates that “special deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals program” it simply means that the program has some special treatment for immigrants who have lived in the United States since they were young. The metaphor was used to mean that in some cases where these people would not qualify for Obamacare, they would still, depending on income, be allowed under other managed programs such as Medicaid (Pearson par. 14-15).

The other conceptual metaphor is the “undocumented immigrant”. This has been used to mean people or immigrants who are not fully registered as legally residing residents of United Sates for one reason or the other. In fact, the concept has been used to show that the undocumented immigrants are the highly targeted as they pose a huge challenge to hospitals in terms of paying for their bills given that they are facing cuts specifically in federal Medicaid reimbursements (Pearson par. 15-16). If they all sign up for the program, the obvious benefit is that public hospitals that rely heavily on managed care support from the federal government will less likely be stuck when claiming for reimbursements.

The other conceptual metaphor is “Affordable Care Act plan”. In this context, it has been used to mean programs that are funded by the federal government (Pearson par. 10-12). They are several but the most discussed ones are Medicaid and Obamacare. In this context, this concept has been used to mean that such supported programs are not restricted to holders of green cards or citizens but everybody who is living in the country (Atlas 2-4). Specifically, it refers to immigrants who actually have been hosted in the US temporarily as a result of natural disasters and political victims.

The other conceptual metaphor is “learning by word of mouth”. As it has already been discussed, it means that some immigrants do not understand the language being used to encourage them into the program. United States is known to host many recent people from different non-English speaking countries; therefore it is public knowledge that they do not understand English (Pearson par. 5-6). In this case, the concept has been used to mean other mechanisms or approaches to make them understand must be used. Already, in some states messages have been translated into their own languages. However, officials indicate that this is not only an immigration issue; it also has something to do with the bottom line (Pearson par. 3). That is, in order to make a program or an exchange function properly it is always important involve as many people as possible.


It is public knowledge that there are language and cultural hurdles, as well as there is a lot of hesitation amongst immigrants about accessing affordable care. The affordable care plan as supported by the president is all inclusive and seeks to reduce the burden faced by public hospital when serving undocumented immigrants. Although, their fears may be well founded based on the deportation history of United States, the government has assured them that the program is safe. However, with mixed discourses between republicans and Democrats about the program, no illegal immigrant would be willing to enroll on the first round even though; the last date for registration was set for March 31st.

As it has been seen there are a number of issues that emerge from the articles. The government wants to secure the lives of many residents and unburden public hospitals. However, under the law, a resident of United States is one who is lawfully residing in the country. This then complicates the issue when those who are being targeted are not lawfully residing in the country. Moreover, the immigration bill which is still under discussion seems to offer the opportunity to young people who are talented, educated and are patriotic. Yet, the presidential announcement in mid 2012 seemed to contradict what was envisaged in the Obamacare.

Works Cited

Atlas, Scott. Reforming America’s health care system: the flawed vision of Obamacare. Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Inst. Press, 2010. Print.

Barnett, Randy and Trevor Burrus. A conspiracy against Obamacare: the Volokh conspiracy and the health care case. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.

Bessette, Joseph and John Pitney. American Government and Politics: Deliberation, Democracy and Citizenship. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Hill, James. Obamacare – What’s In It. New York, NY.: Primedia E-launch LLC, 2012. Print.

Morgan, David. . 2014. Web.

Orelli, Brian. 2014. Web.

Pear, Robert. . 2013. Web.

Pearson, Erica. New York City’s immigrant population not signing up for health insurance under Obamacare: advocates. 2014. Web.

Pipes, Sally. The truth about Obamacare. New York, NY. Perseus Distribution: Perseus Distribution, 2010.Print.

Sharma, Dinesh and Uwe Gielen. The Global Obama: Crossroads of Leadership in the 21st Century. New York, NY.: Routledge, 2013. Print.

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