Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Immigration Law Enforcement & National Health Care

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has insisted the Senate will deal with immigration and health reform separately. And Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) told the Dallas Morning News in May, “We’re not going to cover undocumented aliens, undocumented workers. That’s too politically explosive.”...But it’s hard to envision how health reform can avoid tripping the immigration booby trap. Approximately 15–22 percent of the 46 million residents of the United States without health coverage are illegal aliens. That’s about 9 or 10 million people. More generally, a third of the foreign-born are uninsured, Census data analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies show. That means something like 12.6 million people, or more than a fourth of the total uninsured, are immigrants, both legal and illegal. Since 1989, immigration is responsible for 71 percent of the rise in those without health insurance. The fact is, the problem of the uninsured would be a more manageable one if the U.S. were not admitting millions of uninsured immigrants....Importing the Uninsured, James Edwards, Jr., National Review, 7/15/2009

Edwards has a big story by the tail. After the California court decision that decided that illegal immigrants were entitled to the same state benefits as citizens, a case not overturned by the Supreme Court, it seems very unlikely that any bill, federal or state, could have a proviso denying care benefits to the undocumented immigrant. In some parts of the country, New York, California, Detroit, Florida, Seattle, as you waited in line for your assigned physician in the government clinic, you'd have half the population of Mexico and Cuba in front of you. In Spokane and Seattle, all of those, and you, would be standing behind recent arrivals from China.


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