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Undocumented Immigrants and Health Reform

The New Republic's Jon Cohn talked to some Hill sources last week and they gave him good news: The Congressional Budget Office is scoring early versions of heath reform at $1 trillion over 10 years, rather than $1.5 trillion, or $1.7 trillion, as some had feared. The importance of this is straightforward enough: If Congress's budget agency says health care costs less than expected, then it's easier for Congress to pay for health care. They don't have to raise as much money. If $1 trillion actually proves the final number, then adopting Barack Obama's proposed $634 billion health reform fund would get Congress most of the way there.

The catch is that the lower cost comes, in part, because CBO doubts that universal health coverage is achievable in the short-term. They're suggesting that between a quarter and a third of the uninsured are likely to remain that way even amidst an individual mandate. That's not terribly surprising. Though the CBO doesn't say this, and reformers in general don't like to bring it up, a fair portion of the uninsured are undocumented immigrants. Not a quarter or a third, to be sure. But according to RAND data, we're probably looking at around 6-8 million undocumented immigrants without insurance. And they're very unlikely to be included in health care reform. Which makes sense. As we all know, bacterial infections are not transmissible between individuals with different citizenship status.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 18, 2009; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Health Coverage  
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Comments

Aside from the snark (illegal immigrants showing up in emergency rooms, which are legally obligated to treat them, are more likely to have injuries from accidents or crime than to have a bacterial infection warranting emergency care), since your previous post showed how we'd save money if we adopted the health care systems of European countries, how about a post on how those countries deal with health care for illegal immigrants?

Posted by: pghsm | May 18, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Not only do many "reformers" not like to mention this, but some even try to hide behind euphemisms like "undocumented immigrants" rather than using the legally correct term. Imagine that! Plus, some "reformers" even try to substitute childlike snark for actual workable policy

Can you believe it? Some of those "reformers" seem to think that somehow we can extend yet another benefit to illegal aliens without encouraging even more people to come here illegally, swamping the system. Those "reformers" don't support our laws and don't support common sense efforts to enforce our laws in order to encourage foreign citizens who are here illegally to return home to be taken care of by their own countries. Instead, those "reformers" want us to subsidize those corrupt countries and the corrupt employers of those who are here illegally.

Imagine that!

Thankfully, Ezra Klein - Mr. Juicebox himself - is not like that. Welcome to the WaPo!

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | May 18, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for telling Lonewacko your new url, Ezra! (-:

A little off topic, but one of the benefits the country could gain from reforming its immigration laws via a guest worker plan would be a provision that employers who wish to hire such workers provide health insurance benefits, or perhaps pay into a fund to deal with this issue. A regulated market, in other words, can be, er, regulated. A black market, not so much.

And congrats on the new digs, Ezra.

Posted by: Jasper99 | May 18, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I'd be curious to hear, er, read your thoughts on immigration reform. It seems to me that we can't really fix healthcare for undocumented immigrants if we haven't done something about immigration.

Posted by: CaptainNoble | May 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

So, CBO's Department of Rectal Number Extraction says $1 trillion over 10 years. "And forget about all previous projections of the cost of government programs, like Medicare being just a few billion a year. This time we're right. Really!"


Posted by: Speaker2Animals | May 19, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

thanks for really looking at this.. and the facts are the 1.7 trillion will be spent on illegal's and the people who can't afford medical like me........( but do, because I prefer this over socialized medicine!


there is no health reform.. maybe legitimization of greed (or lobbyist)! or stopping the socializing of medicine cuz a person like me who is GLAD TO PAY 109.28 for medical and dental

A WEEK !

compared to the treatment I (OR) my family got in Sweden (where I was an American trying to get a Job in Sweden ) who left a high paying job in America to sit at home and take care of the kids in Sweden because there were no jobs in Sweden,

even doing dishes at McDonald's had a waiting list..for the Swede's,

I was on that "other" waiting list.. I think it was called the F-U American LIST

and the Medical was so bad that what ever my wife had at the time, (I know what she has now) but they could not diagnose her for 3 years but the first week after I got my insurance in America they took a simple blood test and found out it was a thyroid issue ( rapid pulse, dizziness, heart attack like symptoms and they ( at the hospital in SWEDEN (7:30pm) said "comeback in a hour and if it's still happenening then we'll admit you .. and we did and still see a doctor till 2 am )

so please let these freeloaders I don't want to pay for them! ( oh by the way I did work 16 hours a day to get the wife and 2 (out of 3) kids green cards the other was mine and he got free .citizenship

So what I am against is.. ( since I work for the City Of Phoenix). allowing the freeloaders with the escaldes and 20 inch rims who are on section 8 and have air conditioning in their cars ( which I did not, during the Arizona Summer's because I was paying to do things right. Like getting green cards from my wife and kids and even though I had 4 dependants I could not get Ahccess or even Food stamps or anything.. ( hence the 16 hours a day)
and let them keep on getting free medical when I pay more than a 109.28 a WEEK just for my insurance.. on my kids and me (the swede and me got divorced cuz I was never around)

so Out of check of 951.70 my pay is 625.38
hm ( oh by the way I am half Hispanic) so yea keep on taking my money F'er your words are useless but Let's not keep allowing congress, the president, the senate... talking their comfortable banter.. till were taxed beyond your means

Posted by: GEOFFSAARI | May 20, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

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