Coverage for the undocumented is the best policy in the long run
The fight over legal and undocumented immigrant inclusion in a reformed healthcare system has been brewing for months but has recently intensified. Anti-immigrant politicians have called the president a "liar" over the question of whether or not his plan would give benefits to "illegal aliens." But rather than expose these politicians for fearmongering, honest health-reform negotiators have inadvertently legitimized the claims. Efforts by
Anti-immigrant politicians argue that undocumented people should be excluded from the proposed taxpayer-subsidized health insurance exchange. The president agrees, and
And what about the more than 1.5 million undocumented children in
Unauthorized workers and children are already barred from
Anti-immigrant politicians further argue that U.S.-born children of immigrants should not be given citizenship. Do you wonder what they believe about providing these American children healthcare? These politicians would punish citizen children and families with a working parent who is unauthorized. Negotiators seem to agree. Reformers would go overboard in crafting a complex web of rules to guarantee that the unauthorized parent of a family of four U.S. citizens cannot possibly benefit from health reform. In effect, the rules could mean that the entire family cannot afford health insurance because of a drastically reduced affordability credit.
Side by side, the new rules could mean that the government will treat a U.S.-born child of an unauthorized parent as less than a U.S.-born child of U.S. citizen parents. This unequal treatment among U.S.-born children might even be unconstitutional. One can make an argument that those in the country unlawfully should not receive direct government assistance. But no one can reasonably argue that
Politicians--including some who should know better--further argue that some categories of legal immigrants should not have access to
Confusion over these rules also helps explain why more than 45 percent of all legal, taxpaying immigrants have no health coverage. Rather than fix this problem, health reform could make matters worse. The
There are legitimate policy questions about how we should treat undocumented immigrants in the country. The debate over how to fix our broken immigration system is forthcoming, and those questions will be answered there. The healthcare reform debate is about how we get all workers, families, and children access to affordable, high-quality care.
Anti-immigrant politicians do have a perspective about immigrants and healthcare that should be heard. But health reformers who adopt their proposals should beware. Anti-immigrant lawmakers seek punishment at any cost, even if it harms the health status of American children and other U.S. citizens. That's a clear path down a treacherous road we should wisely avoid and an ambition the
Read why healthcare reform calls for fiscal prudence over compassion, by
Navigating the Annual Medicare Sign-up Maze
Medicare is our only form of health insurance that approaches the simplicity of a European-style single payer system. But it's not as simple as it could be -- especially at this time of year during the 6-week annual enrollment window for Medicare Advantage and Medicare D prescription drug plans.
Americans recognize that extending the full range of benefits to people who have no legal right to be in the country is unjustified and would add billions of dollars to the cost of a healthcare overhaul. Here's Why ...
Daily Calls to Insurer Are Bad for My Health
Over the past few days I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince Aetna, my insurance carrier, to pay for doctor-prescribed physical therapy. This has meant phoning the member-service number to coax along an appeal, an almost daily ritual as unpleasant but necessary as prepping for a colonoscopy
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Healthcare - Immigration Debate Can Wait. Healthcare for All Cannot
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