By Mike Scruggs-A principle objective of Obamacare is to make healthcare insurance available to all residents of the United States at reasonable prices. Note that “residents” of the United States include native-born American citizens, naturalized American citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants. Most reasonable people would confine government benefit payments to U.S. citizens. Our welfare bill is already too big. Why are we trying to fund some sort of worldfare for visitors, many of whom are here illegally? Can we borrow more money from the Chinese?
According to a 2009 study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), 27 percent of U.S. residents do not have any health insurance. However, only 13 percent of native-born Americans lack health insurance, but 32 percent of all immigrants and their children under 18 do not have health insurance.
It doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to figure out that a huge portion of whatever Obamacare will cost will simply be a transfer payment from native-born Americans to immigrants. Since approximately 64 percent of illegal immigrants have no health insurance, we can conclude that a major fraction of Obamacare costs will be a transfer payment from native-born Americans to illegal immigrants. Furthermore, approximately 85 percent of the increase in uninsured households within the last five years is attributable to new immigration, legal and illegal.
It now appears that Obamacare is not going to save working Americans money. It is going to cost them dearly. Many are now worried about being able to afford healthcare at all. The ironic consequence of this thoughtless politicizing of healthcare is that healthcare is being made less available to Americans, so it can be given liberally to illegal immigrants who are taking American jobs, using false or stolen identities, and defrauding the government out of taxes. Most Americans will not be happy with Obamacare, but the new politicized healthcare will be a strong magnet for more illegal immigration.
According to CIS, approximately 48 percent of immigrants are either uninsured or on Medicaid. This is because of the lower education and skill levels of the recent wave of immigrants. Before the “chain migration” provisions of the 1965 Immigration “Reform” Act, the average American immigrant was better educated and more skilled than the average American. According to the Heritage Foundation, 51 percent of illegal immigrant household heads in 2010 were high school dropouts, compared with 20 percent of legal immigrants, and less than 10 percent of native-born Americans.
The late Milton Friedman, America’s most prominent free market economist for several generations, once made the rather self-evident observation that you cannot have a welfare state and high levels of immigration. The problem for the last 40 years has been that a majority of the political and media classes would rather not confront the predictable and obvious results of foolish immigration and welfare policies, much less draw conclusions from the growing piles of statistical evidence of their folly. They had rather turn their eyes away from accumulating fiscal, economic, and social ruin and hope that illogical and deluded emotional appeals for more immigration and more welfare will somehow save the day. Such mawkish flight from reason may sway the voters for a season but will sow bitter weeds of future reality. As Steve Camarota with CIS has said, “It is very difficult to imagine getting our healthcare house in order without getting our immigration house in order.”
The Schumer-Rubio immigration bill that passed the U.S. Senate earlier this year is now under consideration by the U.S. House. This bill is not about getting our “immigration house” in order. It is massive special interest legislation driven by cheap labor lobbyists and those who stand to gain by changing the American electorate to one more supportive of left-liberal social and economic policies. According to the Heritage Foundation, the measurable fiscal costs of its amnesty provision for 11.5 million illegal immigrants alone would cost American taxpayers $6.3 trillion over the long term. That does not count its provision to bring an additional 30 to 33 million legal immigrant workers into the U.S. over the next decade to compete with American workers. This would inflict considerable painful damage on the wages and job prospects of American workers. Excess legal and illegal foreign labor supply is already costing the average American worker $2,800 per year. This is essentially an economic transfer of $400 billion from American workers to businesses and individuals who use legal and illegal foreign labor.
The U.S. has become a welfare state thanks to the Great Society programs that were passed under the Johnson Administration in 1965 and 1966. In 2010, the United States paid out over $695 billion in means-tested welfare assistance—cash, food, housing, and medical care in over 80 programs—for low-income people. Of this, $131 billion, 19 percent, was for legal and illegal immigrants. Since 2010 however, the Obama Administration has added Food Stamp and Medicaid recipients so rapidly that the 2013 means-tested welfare payout will probably break the $1.0 trillion mark. According to the Heritage Foundation, in 2010 the average American household received $1,158 more in government benefits and services than paid for in taxes. Illegal immigrant households received $14,347 more per year than taxes paid. Giving them amnesty would raise that cost to $22,337 per year because of increased welfare and social security eligibility.
Politicians are reluctant to admit that the U.S. has two big immigration problems: illegal immigration and excessive legal immigration with little quality control. Most Americans now get it. Approximately 65 percent believe immigration levels should be reduced.
However, we have already come to a point in American politics, where emotional appeals to poorly informed voters and aggressive special interest lobbies have pushed both healthcare and immigration policy to points of unbelievable fiscal irresponsibility. The U.S welfare state may quickly become insolvent through a combination of amnesty, massive increases in legal immigration, and Obamacare. We need to open our eyes and steer a wiser course.