Submitted By Todd on September 28th at 6:37am
Fearful that they're losing ground on immigration and health care, a group of House Democrats is pushing back and arguing that any health care bill should extend to all legal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants some access.Those familiar with the hearts of liberals know what their endgame is, which is why all the debate over the past couple of months about the exact wording of the legislation misses the point - if they're passing a thousand page piece of government takeover, they're going to find a way to make sure it includes a pathway, at least, to reach their true goals. Fortunately, there are some Democrats who have enough integrity that they're willing to risk blowing the scam for the majority of their party.
Coverage for immigrants is one of the thorniest issues in the health care debate, and one many Democratic leaders would like to avoid. But immigrant rights groups and the Democrats who sent the letters say they have to take a stand now.This is what the much honored Ted Kennedy, whose spirit hangs over this debate, devoted his life to.
The Democrats, trying to stiffen their party's spines on the contentious issue, say it's unfair to bar illegal immigrants from paying their own way in a government-sponsored exchange. Legal immigrants, they say, regardless of how long they've been in the United States, should be able to get government-subsidized health care if they meet the other eligibility requirements.The thing that rational people don't understand is this - if they're not in the country legally, why wouldn't you deport them when they hand you the check to pay for the coverage?
"Legal permanent residents should be able to purchase their plans, and they should also be eligible for subsidies if they need it. Undocumented, if they can afford it, should be able to buy their own private plans. It keeps them out of the emergency room," said Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.Wouldn't deporting them also keep them out of the emergency room?
Under the 1996 welfare law overhaul, Congress restricted most federal benefits to longtime holders of green cards - those who have been in the country at least five years. But Democrats chipped away at that rule when they reauthorized the State Children's Health Insurance Program earlier this year and allowed states to cover all immigrant children and pregnant women, regardless of how long they've been in the country.Chipping away is the usual strategy for Dems. That way, they avoid a big fight. Get the camel's nose under the tent and its rear end will be inside soon enough.
The National Council of La Raza launched its own "flood their voice mail" campaign last week to put pressure on Mr. Baucus to expand coverage in his proposal to include all legal immigrants and to drop verification language in the legislation that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining coverage.Eventually, they'll likely propose extending benefits to those illegals in waiting - ones who haven't gotten around to breaking into the country yet - on the premise that it's best to get them signed up early to make a seamless transition when they do finally make the hike.
"Immigrants are part of our families, our communities, our economy, and contribute to the fabric of America," they wrote. "It is simply wrong that their taxes would pay for public health insurance programs to which they are not allowed access."Of course it is.