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Big jump in number of immigrants losing health law coverage

Associated Press, Sept. 12, 2015
by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A change in government procedures has led to a big jump in people losing coverage under the Obama health care law because of immigration and citizenship issues.

More than 400,000 had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year.

The Obama administration says it is following the letter of the law, and this year that means a shorter time frame for resolving immigration and citizenship issues. But advocates say the administration's system for verifying eligibility is seriously flawed, and consumers who are legally entitled to benefits are paying the price.

"Same dog, different collar," said Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, evoking an old Spanish saying about situations that do not seem to change. "The bottom line is people got taken off health insurance when they applied in good faith."

The National Immigration Law Center says it believes the overwhelming majority of the 423,000 people whose coverage was terminated are legal U.S. residents and citizens snared in a complicated, inefficient system for checking documents.

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