Monday, December 7, 2015

The ObamaCare-Immigration Collision

Keeping millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S. and virtually ensuring that they will cost American jobs.
The Justice Department last month asked the Supreme Court to review a preliminary injunction blocking the Obama administration from implementing the president’s immigration executive order, which would defer deportations for up to five million undocumented immigrants.
When President Obama announced his executive action, he acknowledged in his televised speech the concern that such immigrants “would take our jobs” and “stick it to the middle class.” He assured us that this is “not what these steps would do.” But he didn’t consider how this new edict would interact with his other legal inventions, namely ObamaCare.
The government’s petition says that the executive action intended to provide “work authorizations” so that undocumented immigrants could find jobs in the U.S. without working illegally for less than market wages, which might harm American workers. But wait: Employers aren’t required to offer ObamaCare coverage or subsidies to these immigrants. The statutory language in the Affordable Care Act says that only “lawful residents” are eligible, and the government’s petition specifically notes that the immigration action does not “confer any form of legal status in this country.”
In short, companies will be encouraged to hire these immigrants over U.S. citizens. ObamaCare requires employers to offer all full-time employees health insurance that meets the law’s standards. For businesses that offer health-insurance coverage, the government enforces this rule by imposing a penalty of up to $3,000 a year for each full-time employee who receives a federal subsidy, a proxy for each full-time employee who doesn’t receive compliant coverage. The penalty is triggered if a single full-time employee purchases coverage on the marketplace and receives a subsidy.
But none of this matters if your employees are immigrants freed up by Mr. Obama’s executive order. Companies could save $3,000 in penalties or the cost of insurance—about $3,300—for every one of these immigrants they employ over a U.S. citizen or lawful resident
Read the rest of the WSJ op-ed HERE.

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