Whatever Americans think about healthcare, they are united by the fact that they don't want illegal aliens to be covered. A Rasmussen Poll showed that 80% of Americans opposed the idea and only 11% supported it. A full 70% said that it would be a dealbreaker.
Americans also recognize that the health care crisis is in large part an immigration crisis. 59% of illegal aliens are uninsured, more than four times that of Americans. Immigrants—both legal and illegal—account for one-third of the uninsured. And, note carefully, this doesn't even include their US citizen children. These uninsured illegal aliens use emergency rooms to a degree that has shut down hospitals across the country.
With enough trouble trying to get Obamacare through in the first place, Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Montana) said from the outset that illegals would not be covered in the first place because it is too "politically explosive."
And sure enough the bill its present form states: "No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens. Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."
Not wanting to be completely at odds with the American people, when Barack Obama was asked by Katie Couric if he thought illegal aliens should be covered, he said "no."
But he made an exception for minors because,
"If you've got children who may be here illegally but are still in playgrounds or at schools, and potentially are passing on illnesses and communicable diseases, that aren't getting vaccinated, that I think is a situation where you may have to make an exception."
Most states already have laws mandating and funding vaccinations as prerequisite for enrolling in public school, so this does not require unlimited free healthcare. Of course we could also overturn Plyler vs. Doe—the controversial Supreme Court diktat that forces local school districts to accept illegal alien children.
At the end of the day, Obama doesn't think the issue of covering illegals is important because, as he told Katie Couric, he'd "like to create a situation where we're dealing with illegal immigration, so that we don't have illegal immigrants. And we've got legal residents or citizens who are eligible for the plan. And I want a comprehensive immigration plan that creates a pathway to achieve that."
In other words: we don't need to worry about barring illegal aliens from getting healthcare, because we're going to make them legal residents, and even citizens, before long. In the meantime, they can continue to drain our tax dollars at the emergency room.
But the Open Borders Lobby is never satisfied. After noting that one-third of all the uninsured and 40% of uninsured children are Latino, National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguía spoke out against "adding layers of immigrant verification and bureaucratic red tape" to the plan. She demanded that we make healthcare "accessible for all workers and children."
While the bill claims to not give healthcare to illegals, it does not include any of that pesky "immigrant verification" that Ms. Murguia is so concerned about. The Ways and Means Committee rejected Congressman Dean Heller's amendment that required recipients of government funded healthcare to use the screening process already in place to prevent illegal aliens from getting means tested welfare. In fact, there is absolutely no mechanism whatsoever to screen individuals for their legal status.
Rep. Lamar Smith recently pointed out another loophole. Obamacare offers family plans. And there is nothing keeping a family of illegals getting covered so long as one of them (most likely an anchor baby) is legal.
Yet another loophole is that the "No Federal Payment for Illegal Aliens" clause only applies to the "affordability credits"—just one of the various taxpayer-funded options under the bill. Nothing keeps illegal aliens from being covered by the national healthcare plan.
On Friday, Roll Call reported that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus [CHC] is pressuring Nancy Pelosi to include illegal aliens in the bill. One anonymous congressman stated: "We're pushing to include everyone in the health care bill. Everyone."
Roll Call continued,
"Asked if CHC leaders will ask Pelosi to specifically spell something out in the bill to address illegal immigrants, the Member said no. Rather, the Member said the CHC simply wants to make sure the bill—as drafted—doesn't prohibit illegal immigrants from accessing care."[CHC Presses Pelosi to Include Illegal Immigrants in Health Bill, By Jennifer Bendery, July 24, 2009]
Like Obama, the CHC seems content to allow illegals to sneak through the system until they inevitably receive amnesty.
Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for the American people, as these facts get exposed, they might be enough to sink the entire plan.
If Obama can't get healthcare through, there is no way he can pass amnesty.
Whatever reforms need to made to our healthcare, taking care of the illegal immigration epidemic plaguing this country is a necessary first step.
"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.