Poll: Four in 10 think illegals are covered by Obama healthcare law

Four in 10 people incorrectly believe that President Obama's healthcare law provides benefits to illegal immigrants, a new poll revealed Wednesday.

This figure comprises about one in three Democrats and more than half of Republicans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducted the survey.

In all, 42 percent believe that the Affordable Care Act extends insurance subsidies or Medicaid eligibility to illegal aliens, which it does not. About one in four say they are not sure.

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Surprisingly, the survey found that decisive majorities favor giving healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants who gain provisional legal status.

Sixty-three percent said provisionally legal immigrants should be able to enroll in Medicaid, while 59 percent said they should receive insurance subsidies under healthcare reform.

This question has been in headlines as debate continues on overhauling the U.S. immigration system.

Republicans have said that newly legal immigrants should not be permitted to access federal benefits, and the White House reform framework released in January would not permit assistance for this group under healthcare reform.

Support for giving healthcare benefits to provisionally legal immigrants was highest among Hispanics (83-86 percent support), blacks (77-78) and Democrats (75-77).

Half of whites backed insurance subsidies, meanwhile, and 56 percent agreed that people with legal status should be eligible for Medicaid.

Illegal immigrants are prohibited from enrolling in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, though program funds may support their emergency and prenatal care, in some cases.