The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is currently tussling with both the Speaker of the House and the President for a health care bill that includes undocumented immigrants. Currently, the House bill (H.R. 3962) has no bar against undocumented immigrants and toughening the health care bill with verification measures may lead to thousands of immigrants losing their access to private health insurance.
The question is simple: Do you want undocumented immigrants in your overburdened emergency rooms on ‘taxpayer dollars’ or do you want them buying health insurance to pay for their own medical bills? Never mind the fact that the undocumented pay taxes to mitigate the costs of receiving any so-called ‘free health care’ and are the least likely to use emergency health facilities.
Dragging undocumented immigrants into the health-care debate for political purposes is a way to derail health care reform without offering any real solutions for the estimated 11.8 million out-of-status immigrants in this country. Excluding undocumented from participating in public exchange while increasing costs of private premium health insurance due to competition threatens a loss of coverage for even those who have private health insurance. It goes without saying that including everyone in the marketplace of health insurance is far more economical than excluding given more people would carry the burden and hence, lower the costs of health care.
Lets see how long it takes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ignore facts in the face of right-wing paranoia without putting forth a solution to fixing a failing system that prevents so many immigrants from adjusting their status to get health care.
Photo Credit: Neil Parekh/SEIU Healthcare 775NW / CC