Illegal Aliens: Health Care Reforms’ Dirty Little Secret

It’s fascinating the way in which the war of words over Heath Care Reform is being played out here in America. People on both sides of the issue feverishly debating the merits of their case while the folks in the middle worry about yet another massive spending bill and the prospect of loosing control of their health care. Many nuanced arguments are finding their way from the pundits “on air” studios to our kitchen tables but one striking issue that seems to be intentionally left out of the Heath Care Debate this time around is the immense cost we as Americans spend annually to cover illegal aliens heath needs.

In California alone, according to a 2004 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, that number is on the order of $1.4 billion and rising!

The fact is undocumented immigrants are driving up the number of people without health insurance. USAToday cites “The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 59% of the nation’s illegal immigrants are uninsured compared with 25% of legal immigrants and 14% of U.S. citizens. Illegal immigrants represent about 15% of the nation’s 47 million uninsured people.”

With numbers like that is little wonder why this administration is conveniently leaving this out of the national discussion and trying their best to keep a lid on it. Although personally popular President Obama knows, given the extreme reaction to the so-called comprehensive immigration reform tried in the past, if this issue becomes the focus of the debate… this bill is doomed to fail.

At the 6th Annual World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. HHS’ counselor for public health and science said “This year will be the year we get health care reform done,”

If you live in California Like I do, this statement sound eerily familiar and all to similar to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s declaration that 2007 would be the “Year of Health Care Reform.”

Thomas Sowell said in his Alice in Healthcareland article:

That is certainly true. We were not spending nearly as much on high-tech medical procedures in the past because there were not nearly as many of them, and we were not spending anything at all on some of the new pharmaceutical drugs because they didn’t exist.

This general pattern is not peculiar to medical care. Cars didn’t cost nearly as much in the past, when they didn’t have air-conditioning, power steering and high-tech safety features. Homes were cheaper when they were smaller, had fewer bathrooms and lacked such conveniences as built-in microwave ovens.

We would like to have all these things without the rising costs that come with them. But only with medical care is such wishful thinking taken seriously, with government regarded as a sort of fairy godmother who will give us the benefits without the costs.

A cynic is said to be someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. If so, then it is political cynicism to point to other countries that spend less on medical care, including some countries where there is “universal health care” provided “free” by their governments.

And Mark Hurt wrote in his column:

Another piece of the health care puzzle is that an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants reside in the United States — that is at least two times the number of people living in the state of Indiana. While illegal immigrants are not eligible for coverage through Medicaid or public benefits, immigrants can access health care through federally qualified community health centers. Studies show that 15 percent to 22 percent of the uninsured in America are illegal immigrants.

California is spending more than $1 billion for coverage for illegal immigrants who have no health insurance. A Florida Hospital Association survey of 28 hospitals found health care for illegal aliens exceeded $40 million. In states such as Arizona and Texas, the costs are high. The Texas comptroller estimates the cost of health care for illegal immigrants was $1.3 billion in 2006. The stakes of the health care reform are steep.

With that Ann “Babe” Huggett offers Ten cost-cutting suggestions for California

1. Freeze the welfare rolls then go through them with a fine tooth comb looking for double/triple/quadruple dippers and the still-being-paid deceased.

2. Resurrect Proposition 187, which banned illegals from getting onto welfare. The voters passed it and the usual liberal, racist goo-goos screamed, hollered, ranted, raved then shopped it around in the courts until they found a liberal judge to declare a constitutionally valid, voter approved state proposition “unconstitutional.”

3. Enforce illegal immigration laws and don’t give me that garbage about it being a “federal issue.” Listen: if an illegal is on California soil, it is a California issue. The flood of illegals here is destroying our health care and school system not to mention the stress they are putting on municipal services and housing.

4. Stop printing up everything in multi-lingual versions. Catering to a polyglot society is expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, and divisive. All it does is reinforce the soft-bigotry of low expectations by its implication that new arrivals are too stupid to learn English.

5. Get rid of the California Teachers’ Association and let the schools reflect their communities the way they used to. Once upon a time California was the top state for education and now it’s at the very bottom thanks to our politically correct, ignorance factory, public schools. There is also no reason why counselors and psychologists should be on that CTA gravy train either since most of the time they do more harm than good.

6. Freeze state government hiring especially in the upper echelons. Does California really need another $240K a year Investment Director, California State Teachers’ Retirement System?

7. Gut the Health and Human Services sub-departments. What are we doing with a Department of Aging? Or a Commission on Aging? And what the heck is a State-Local realignment Department? These are chair-warmer jobs.

8. Stop giving the Environmental Protection Department free rein to destroy property rights under the guise of saving the environment. One reason why housing prices are so artificially inflated in California is that it is nearly impossible to get new housing built and we wouldn’t be having an energy crisis if we could get new power stations erected. But we can’t and all because some dumb jerk of an enviro-weenie thinks a snail darter is more important than our health and well being.

9. Stop with all the arts grants. Endowments for the Arts are why God invented philanthropists. Besides, whoever is currently commissioning public works of art has bad taste. Fire them too and not only will you save their salary for the taxpayers but you will save all our collective eyesight while you are at it.

10. Let libraries be libraries where people go to enjoy books, magazines and newspapers instead of being unfair, government subsidized competition to video rental and music stores. Why are taxpayers’ dollars going to stock local libraries with rap cds, violent video games and Japanese anime? Why do we need a state-funded Science Fiction library collection in Riverside?

I suggest these to can easily be tweaked to be used on the national level and should be the basis for any Health Care Reform Bill and debate.