The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a collection of 23 Democrats and one independent in the House, are threatening to vote down health care reform
over an anti-immigration provision in the Senate bill. The provision
bars illegal immigrants form buying health care coverage from the
exchanges, which is harsher than the House restriction barring illegal
immigrants from receiving federal subsidies on health insurance. That's
a step too far, say the Hispanic lawmakers. Could this really kill it?
What should Democrats do?
- Why They're Insisting The Hill's Jared Allen explains,
"They claim that while it may be politically popular in some parts of
the country to ban illegal immigrants from using their own money to buy
coverage, it is not good policy. Illegal immigrants will, one way or
another, need medical attention in the United States, and it would be
cheaper and more humane to provide them coverage if they pay for it.
Otherwise, they will seek treatments in the nation's emergency rooms,
effectively increasing medical costs."
- Shows Need for Immigration Reform rather than just lumping immigration into every other issue, writes Matthew Yglesias.
"One important reason to pursue some kind of comprehensive immigration
reform is that until we achieve that goal, every other social policy
issue is going to get dragged into immigration politics." He scoffs,
"it's worth questioning the wisdom of attempting this piecemeal
regulation of immigration status by social services providers."
- Empty Threats Hot Air's Ed Morrissey is skeptical.
"They have remained very quiet about this issue until very late in the
game. Are they really taking a stand on principle -- or are they
putting pressure on Pelosi and Obama to jump into immigration reform
now in order to get amnesty and render the entire question moot? I'd
bet on the latter, and take this threat with a large grain of salt."
- Finally, 'Momentum' on Immigration The Huffington Post's Deepak Bhargava is grateful
for their raising the issue. "It's always amusing to watch political
leaders trying to catch up with the people. The White House is now
sprinting to catch up with those demanding practical solutions to our
broken immigration system. After more than 14 months and no progress,
the grassroots finally lost their patience."
- Why This Could Kill It Back in August, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson foresaw
the conflict between immigration and health care. He said the politics
of immigration were just too complex and ripe for demagoguery to mix in
with the already-confusing health care fight. So Democrats should
preempt it altogether. "In order to snuff out the potential 'death
panel'-ization of illegal immigrant care, the Democrats could go an
extra step to make it clearer that the bill will include a provision
more explicitly designed to weed out illegal immigrant from receiving
government-subsidized care." That way, the White House "saves its gunpowder to
fight for immigration reform at a later date."
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