The White House on Tuesday posted a blog advertising the benefits of Obamacare, encouraging people to live in New Mexico because of the state’s expanded Medicaid benefits for lower-income people.
The post is written entirely in Spanish.
Published without an English translation, its title roughly means, “A few miles can make the difference between having health insurance and not having it.”
The message was posted right in the middle of a raging debate over immigration policy, in which Republicans charge the Obama administration is responsible for attracting thousands of children and families to enter the U.S. illegally.
The Spanish-language post does not directly encourage anyone to enter the country illegally to obtain Medicaid benefits. But Republicans have already criticized the Obama administration for trying to advertise federal benefits to non-U.S. citizens in Mexico, and the use of a Spanish-language add touting Obamacare could draw similar criticism.
Under current law, immigrants can qualify for Medicaid if their deportation proceedings are delayed, if they are veterans, or for other reasons. For example, states can determine whether children under 21 or pregnant women can receive Medicaid benefits.
The blog post by Bess Evans tells the story of a family that lived in New Mexico, and was able to access Medicare benefits in that state. The family wrote to Obama to say that expansion saved them thousands of dollars per year in health coverage costs.
“Fortunately there are states like New Mexico that have taken the opportunity to ensure that people like Adelina access to health care they deserve,” the post reads.
Under Obamacare, states have the option of expanding Medicaid programs to provide health services to the poor, a cost the federal government will mostly cover. The law says the feds will pick up the tab for the first three years, after which states are only on the hook for 10 percent of these costs.