Fearful that they're losing ground on immigration and health care, a group of House Democrats is pushing back and arguing that any health care bill should extend to all legal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants some access, The Washington Times reported on Monday.
The Democrats, trying to stiffen their party's spines on the contentious issue, say it's unfair to bar illegal immigrants from paying their own way in a government-sponsored exchange. Legal immigrants, they say, regardless of how long they've been in the United States, should be able to get government-subsidized health care if they meet the other eligibility requirements.
I know I was thinking that this idea is a total non starter. After all, the president categorically denied that illegals would be covered under the health care plan. In fact, he used his speech in front of the nation to call it a lie that illegal immigrants would be covered under his health care plan. So, any suggestion by any legislator that a final health care plan will cover illegals is a total nonstarter. After all, the president categorically denied that such a thing would ever pass.
So, we of course have nothing to worry about. This is going nowhere. In fact, I am sure the president will be on television immediately to say this is a non starter.
Now, the Democrats that support this are running a shell game. Their plan wouldn't call for the government to pay for their health insurance. It would merely allow an illegal to buy health insurance in the health care exchange. The logic behind this is that if someone has health insurance they are kept out of the emergency room. Now, let's take things one at a time. First, it's not entirely clear just how much of a burden those without insurance are on the health care system. The president says that families pay an extra $900 yearly for such services. Jacob Sullum wrote about this over the weekend and he cites a study that found something entirely different.
According to a 2008 report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, both of those estimates are way off. The foundation’s analysis indicates that the true annual cost per family is more like $200, with uncompensated care accounting for “less than 1 percent of private health insurance costs.”
There is a much bigger cost that all those pushing this aren't accounting for. That's the cost of illegal immigration entirely. If illegals know that they can come here and get jobs, get health insurance, get loans, credit cards, cell phones, etc. there isn't much discouraging them to come here. The costs of illegal immigration are much higher than merely the health care costs. By providing illegals one more benefit of living in America, all we are doing is encouraging more illegal immigration into the country. We should be trying to do everything we can to discourage illegal immigration. That's the main reason everyone was so up in arms at the suggestion that illegals would be covered under the Obama plan. It's much more about the overall costs of illegal immigration and much less about the health care costs of illegal immigration.
It will be interesting to see how the president handles this. He was very firm in his stance that illegals wouldn't be covered. There is no way around that statement. If he doesn't immediately cme out and call this a non starter his credibility will take yet another hit. The last thing he needs right now in the health care debate is for the specter that illegals will be covered to float in the media for a few days.