Immigration analyst James R. Edwards Jr. reported last week in National Review that "no health legislation on the table requires federal, state or local agencies -- or private institutions receiving federal funds -- to check the immigration status of health-program applicants, so some of the money distributed via Medicaid and tax credits inevitably would go to illegal aliens." Moreover, the Senate Finance Committee plan creates a new preference for illegal aliens by exempting them from the mandate to buy insurance.
That's right. Law-abiding, uninsured Americans would be fined if they didn't submit to the Obamacare prescription. Law-breaking border-crossers, visa-overstayers and deportation fugitives would be spared.
The solution is not to give them health insurance, but to turn off the magnets that draw them to enter illegally in the first place.
For years, advocates of uncontrolled immigration have argued that illegal aliens are not getting free health care, and that even if they were, they would not be not draining government budgets. The fiscal crisis in California gives lie to those talking points. In March, the Associated Press reported that Sacramento and Contra Costa counties were slashing staff and closing clinics due to the prohibitive costs of providing non-emergency health services for illegal immigrants.
"The general situation there is being faced by nearly every health department across the country, and if not right now, shortly," Robert M. Pestronk, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told the AP. The Texas state comptroller put the price tag for illegal alien hospital care at $1.3 billion in 2006. USA Today reported that from 2001 to 2004, spending for emergency Medicaid for illegal immigrants rose by 28 percent in North Carolina alone. Clinics across the Midwest have also been shuttered under the weight of illegal immigrant care costs.
At a time when Democratic leaders are pushing rationed care in a world of limited resources, Americans might wonder where the call for shared sacrifice is from illegal immigrant patients like those in Los Angeles getting free liver and kidney transplants at UCLA Medical Center. "I'm just mad," illegal alien Jose Lopez told the Los Angeles Times last year after receiving two taxpayer-subsidized liver transplants while impatiently awaiting approval for state health insurance.
Now, multiply that sense of entitlement by 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. Welcome to the open-borders Obamacare nightmare.
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