Why is California trying to provide illegal aliens healthcare coverage, despite federal immigration law?
The answer is simple: states are ignoring federal laws that prevent illegal aliens from receiving healthcare coverage. In all honesty, the governmental relationship is very weak when it comes to direct enforcement of immigration law.
In March, The Wall Street Journal conducted a survey of 25 counties with the largest illegal alien populations and found that despite federal law 20 of them provide basic healthcare services to illegal aliens.
The plethora of services granted to illegals include “programs that pay for the low-income uninsured to have doctor visits, shots, prescription drugs, lab tests and surgeries at local providers.” The survey also found that these services are free and inexpensive to participants who must prove that they live within the county limits. And, “their immigration status doesn’t matter,” to receive coverage.
For example, according to the survey the 750,000 illegals included in the survey are costing taxpayers $1 billion, with anticipated increased costs. Is this an efficient policy that local jurisdictions should make? No. It only costs the taxpayers.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Affordable Care Act will leave 22 million people uninsured. Other calculations indicate that one of the largest groups who will remain uninsured are illegals. Reason being, the federal law, under the ACA, mandates that non-citizens who want to receive healthcare services must be able to provide substantial proof that they are in the United States legally.
It is my shared sentiment, and a bipartisan sentiment, that any immigrants, legal or not, should not be receiving social and public health benefits while America’s poor and low income populations are struggling. And those who argue that illegals should receive ObamaCare benefits is confounded in absolute subjection and lack of intellectual reasoning.
Not surprisingly, the state of California is pushing legislation to give healthcare coverage to illegals through Covered California, the state’s healthcare exchange program. In a moronic strand of events, the board of Covered California voted to allow illegals on the exchange and is supporting the state’s legislature’s attempt to validate it into law.
California’s efforts ignore what the Obamacare law stipulates. It “prohibits illegal immigrants from signing up for subsidized plans;” yet, according to The Daily Caller, states that continue to offer healthcare coverage for illegals reason that “the reduced emergency room costs will be more cost effective than denying them coverage.” Last February, Newsmax reported that some 200,000 illegals were dropped from ObamaCare coverage because they “failed to provide enough information for officials to determine their legal immigration status” to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In light of this, how can California policy makers not realize the federal statutes in place and the overall implications in pursuing policy like this? It’s simple– their legislators are fully aware of it– and aren’t going to think twice about their actions.
California lawmakers proposed Senate Bill 10, which would “legitimize” this whole fiasco. State Senator Ricardo Lara, a Democrat (not a surprise) from California’s 33rd District, who proposed the legislation, according to The Los Angeles Times, “authored a bill that would have the state formally request the federal government to give permission for immigrants to pay for coverage through Covered California without cost to the state or federal government.”
If the bill becomes law, roughly 390,000 illegals will qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, through the Covered California health exchange.
Still, the process for California’s proposal must still go through a determination period with the federal Departments of Health and Human Service and the Treasury. The Times indicated that this period takes up to 225 days, cannot inflict cost on the federal budget, and will not, “ diminish coverage or affordability,” of the health services in question.
Seriously? No costs inflicted on the federal budget? Granted, the Affordable Care Act mandates that state healthcare exchanges operate in a self-sustaining manner. However, given our already enormous and irresponsible investment into ObamaCare, I just don’t buy it.
Consider this, California is not stable, financially. Liberally spending on projects and programs thrusted California’s governor to request a smaller budget, compared to previous years. According to a Forbes columnist in 2012, state “bailouts entail the allocation of federal tax dollars to reckless states to help them meet their unrealistic spending obligations. This transfer shifts the debt burden of those states onto their responsible, wealth-creating neighbors.”
Though independent and self sustaining, now, Covered California has absolutely no stable future either. Federal establishment grants are running out and its exchange has no remaining funds from California’s general fund, either. It’s possible that rising costs could potentially lead to a bailout of health exchanges and insurance companies by the federal government. And, even more likely that California legislators won’t be able to fix a disaster of such magnitude.
If the federal government sides with California and allows illegal immigrants to receive healthcare coverage from the exchange, the long term costs will be enormous. I will know step down from my soapbox.