Opinion

Calif. working to put illegals under Obamacare coverage

As the countdown continues to Obamacare taking full effect in 2014, and while senators wrestle with details of an immigration overhaul that seem to change daily, California officials are having their own meetings.

They’re figuring out how to break the key promise that Obamacare would not be used to pay for the health care of millions of people living in the country illegally.

That’s according to an article in Friday’s New York Times, though it doesn’t quite put it that way.

California Endowment
A brochure of the California Endowment aimed at getting Obamacare health care for illegal aliens.

First, “California pushes for immigrant health” allows for the obvious: that funding health-care for illegals was never supposed to be part of Obamacare.

“When Congress passed President Obama’s health care overhaul, a critical compromise provision was that immigrants living in the United States illegally would not be allowed access to publicly subsidized health insurance,” the article begins.

“Even now, as lawmakers in Washington are debating an overhaul of immigration laws, leaders from both parties are arguing that no federal money should be spent on health care for immigrants on their way to obtaining citizenship.”

But then there’s a nut:

In California, “public health officials, elected representatives and advocacy groups are going in the opposite direction, trying to cobble together ways to provide preventive care for such immigrants, who are expected to make up the largest share of the remaining uninsured once the state’s expanded Medicaid program takes full effect.”

The article never gets around to defining “preventive care,” or explaining how it would work when the intended recipients are, by definition, not going to be eager to cooperate with authorities.

But it doesn’t really matter. Seven paragraphs later, it gets to the real point: putting taxpayers officially on the hook to care for those not even officially in the country.

Making the case for the Times article is Daniel Zingale, a top executive with the California Endowment, a health care foundation the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto calls a “a tax-free arm of the health-insurance industry.”

“…[W]e’ve seen a total sea change in the way we think about health care for all and immigration,” Zingale says in the article. “I think in the end, it’s inevitable that we’re going to come down on the side of inclusion broadly.”

So there it is.

No matter what the Obamacare pushers said three years ago, and no matter what the immigration reform backers say now, Obamacare plus immigration reform means “it’s inevitable that we’re going to come down on the side of inclusion broadly.”

That’s one promise that’s going to be kept. After all, it’s in the New York Times.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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