Allaying fears of immigration concerns killing the health care reform reconciliation bill, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has announced unanimous support for the provision.
With more than 20 members of the CHC behind her, Representative Nydia Velazquez told reporters that 8.8 million Latinos gaining insurance overrode their other concerns and that this was a “historic opportunity” not to be missed. In other words, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is now officially supporting eligibility verification and barring at least 10.8 million undocumented immigrants from using their own funds to purchase health care.
One has to wonder about the 24 hour turn-around. What deals were made between the Hispanic Caucus and President Obama to shift from Representative Luis Gutierrez being adamantly set against voting for it to the entire CHC giving a green light for a proposal that still throws immigrants under the bus? Maybe they finally agreed to pursue immigration as an issue outside the context of health care reform.
Even though it remains an uphill battle, support from the Hispanic Caucus knocks down another roadblock to passage of health reform, with the issue of federal funding for abortions being the only remaining hurdle. It’s not altogether encouraging that the CHC and organizations like the National Council of La Raza are willing to compromise the health care needs of (Hispanic) women, but sometimes, maybe the greatest cost is the cost of doing nothing. The health care debacle has gravely delayed other important legislative priorities. It may be best to get it over with this Sunday and fight the discriminatory components of it in the judicial system.
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