A key Democratic Senator in the health care overhaul says illegal aliens can't be covered under whatever emerges. Open-borders advocates are howling. Here's the big question for national Democratic leaders: If they recognize that national health insurance for illegal aliens is too expensive, can they see that an amnesty essentially locks in the cost by qualifying 12-20 million illegal aliens for the health care -- plus millions of their relatives who will follow?
We’re not going to cover undocumented aliens, undocumented workers.
-- Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., on Thursday, May 21, 2009
A story by Jim Landers of the Dallas Morning News quoted Baucus who is the Senate Finance Committee chairman. He said that health care reforms that aim to insure every American won’t provide insurance for illegal immigrants and may not address the cost to state and local governments for providing medical care to this large group of the uninsured.
Baucus recognizes that illegal immigrants comprise 15-22% of the estimated 47 million U.S. residents without health insurance.
It is the growth among the uninsured that is helping drive the political effort to change the health care system. Previous studies have shown that illegal aliens account for nearly all of the growth in the uninsured in recent years.
So, what to do with them in the national health care solution is a big elephant in the room.
Leaders of various open-borders groups cried out that the health care reform has to provide full medical coverage to all illegal aliens. While illegal aliens get all kinds of free medical care already, primarily through emergency rooms and the like, including them in national health insurance would cost the equivalent of a bank bailout.
One of the reasons open-borders advocates would rather push an amnesty through Congress before health care legislation is that the publicized cost of the amnesty would be far less if national health coverage isn't included.
But it will be important to remind leaders that granting amnesty to 12-20 million illegal aliens would add incredible costs if they are guaranteed a high level of health care under a new national medical system.
I think Sen. Baucus understands. Baucus was one of 14 Democratic Senators who voted against the giant amnesty in 2007, defying his Party leaders.
Interestingly, Sen. Baucus emphasized on Thursday that any talk of giving this kind of health benefits to illegal aliens would be politically explosive.
The national health solution debate will be explosive enough by itself. Imagine adding illegal aliens to it.
Baucus' comment, though, is yet another confirmation that the constant resistance of ordinary Americans to amnesties and rewards for illegal immigration are having a positive effect on Congress. Grassroots opposition is just what the doctor ordered.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, May 21st 2009 @ 7:37pm EDT