The Senate HCR bill is going to appease nativist birthers while hurting constituents.
Mark Willen from the Kiplinger Letter, just raised an important point about how the Senate is about to enact draconian provisions against undocumented immigrants which happen to go against the interests of American citizens. When anti-immigrant nativism cuts against pocketbook interests for most Americans, I get a foreboding feeling of what is in store in 2010 during the comprehensive immigration reform debate.
The bottom line from Willen’s piece is that the Senate believes most Americans will be willing to subsidize emergency care for undocumented immigrants, and will also be willing to pay higher insurance premiums just so long as Senators can tell their constituents back home they voted against allowing undocumented immigrants to have access to the private insurance exchange that will follow passage of HCR.
Joe Wilson, you are such an asshole. Yes, I know you are not a senator but it was your incredibly loud and rude “you lie” statement during President Obama’s speech before Congress that will result in your constituents paying higher insurance premiums. Defend that in 2010, buddy.
In the meantime, here’s two important points worth summarizing from Willen.
First, because undocumented immigrants will not have access to health insurance, they will not seek medical assistance until illnesses/ injuries get real bad and expensive. Then they will receive assistance at emergency rooms, and the cost of this free service will be passed ontto hospital and insurance company customers.
Next, check out Dr. Leighton Ku’s (from GWU) recently published an article in the AJPH, which concludes that since immigrants are on the whole healthier than citizens, insured immigrants help subsidize health care for the rest of us. In other words, insuring undocumented immigrants would lower costs for voters.
In sum, the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from health exchanges, even if they want to pay with their own money (no subsidies) raises insurance costs for everyone else. What does this suggest. For starters, the undocumented immigrant exclusion in the senate bill is irrationally punitive. It also suggests, that self interested senators are willing to appease anti immigrant constituencies even when against the interests of all their constituents and the public good. oh boy, next year’s gonna be fun.
late addition: TNR just reported that Senator Harry Reid just thew a bone to immigrants in HCR, meaning that the bill will reverse a provision in the 1996 immigration reform law that placed a 5 year wait period on newly naturalized immigrants before they would become eligible for medicaid. According to Sen. Menendez, Reid promised him that this 5 yr ban would be reversed when HCR gets to conference.