Health Care Twist-Uninsured Includes Illegal Aliens

Recently the President stated illegal immigrants would not get health care. The twist here is that the ranks of the uninsured already includes illegal aliens.

In the mass of information, misinformation, disinformation and plain speculation over health care reform, the burning question remains what will happen to illegal immigrants yet to arrive in America and those that already live here? It’s a two pronged problem with seemingly very few comprehensive solutions. The biggest problem, however, appears to be the various numbers thrown out in public to make people believe one side or the other in their rush to overhaul the health care system.

It appears that the most often used number when talking about health insurance, the uninsured and illegal aliens is 47 million. The fact that the much bandied about number includes illegal immigrants seems to escape people’s notice for one reason or another. This number has been floating about since the election and prior to it. Here is another fact people seem to overlook. The Census Bureau counts residents when it does a head count, not U.S. citizens.

Counting “residents” means the numbers being used include many individuals who are “not” citizens, such as those with a green card/work visa and people who came into the U.S. illegally. When and where did the 47 million come into play? It is from a Census Bureau survey done in 2006 and it referred to illegal immigrants as “foreign born households run by a person not a citizen.” The term illegal immigrants doesn’t appear in the survey. In other words, the government is using three year old figures to try and make a point, which leaves one wondering how up-to-date the rest of their information is and why they are not using current statistics, and what else are they leaving out of the equation?

The “real” figures are those provided by the National Coalition on Healthcare and they show 46 million uninsured where 80% are naturalized citizens. Doing the math shows that roughly 9.2 million or 20% are illegal, not 47 million. Talk about confusion reigning supreme. Whether or not illegal aliens are insured or uninsured seems to be smoke and mirrors, as the proposed legislation suggests a mode of amnesty or fast tracked citizenship that would provide health care coverage and the right to vote.

Since comprehensive immigration seems to be a moving target, it opens up a total can of worms when it comes to whether or not the reform will really be put into place or whether it is going to wind up on permanent “hold.” A permanent hold wouldn’t surprise reform advocates who, through the years, have seen it all and nothing has happened but an increase in border enforcement and deportation.

Immigration attorneys are pondering these mixed messages and wondering how they will or won’t affect their ability to defend the rights of their clients. Many are concerned that not enough will be done to make the current system viable and conversely too much may be done to throw the whole structure into total disorder without any clear legal guidelines. Right now it’s a watch and wait attitude in the legal community with a clear preference for reform to provide their clients with the rights they are entitled to when they come to the U.S.

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