Democrats want to provide MinnesotaCare to illegal immigrants 

The Minnesota House People of Color and Indigenous Caucus identified the bill as one of its top priorities during a Jan. 25 press conference. 

MinnesotaCare
The Minnesota Capitol Building in St. Paul, Minn. (Minnesota Department of Administration/Flickr)

Democrats have introduced a bill that would make illegal immigrants eligible for MinnesotaCare, a state-subsidized health insurance program.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Esther Agbaje, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Alice Mann, DFL-Edina, would allow “undocumented noncitizens” to qualify for the program. Lawfully present noncitizens are already eligible.

The Minnesota House People of Color and Indigenous Caucus identified the bill as one of its top priorities during a Jan. 25 press conference.

“The time is now to reduce health disparities and increase individual, family, and community resilience,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis. “Quite frankly, we spend more in terms of emergency medical assistance compared to paying through MinnesotaCare for all the undocumented immigrants.”

According to the Department of Human Services, MinnesotaCare is designed for working Minnesotans who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The program is financed by both state and federal dollars.

Roughly 102,000 Minnesotans were enrolled in the program in 2021. Under the DFL’s bill, eligibility would be expanded to the estimated 81,000 illegal immigrants in the state.

Democrats attempted to pass a similar bill last session, but it died in committee.

“We should not use both state and federal money to subsidize the lives of those in America illegally, and we should especially not do so when it would put the entire program’s existence at risk,” Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, said at the time.

“Humans cannot be illegal,” responded bill sponsor Jennifer Schultz, a former state representative. She argued that illegal immigrants should be eligible for the program because they work and pay taxes.

Under a separate bill that recently passed the Minnesota House, illegal immigrants could soon be eligible for state driver’s licenses.

 

Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.