Under the belief that healthcare is a human right, the California State Assembly, in an overwhelming vote of 44-11, are ignoring federal laws by passing legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive health insurance benefits, as now the bill will move to the state Senate.
But the larger question here is: Is healthcare a human right and should illegal immigrants everywhere in the US get free healthcare?
Because of their immigration status, under existing federal laws, those immigrants who are in the US illegally would not be able to receive healthcare benefits.
Federal law “prohibits payment to an estate for medical assistance furnished to an alien who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law.”
However, California doesn’t agree with that federal law and aims to make its own rules by allowing illegal immigrants to be covered under the Medicaid program through the states Medi-Cal program.
One must keep in mind, that many states violate federal laws. Marijuana legalization is one area where a number of states are ignoring existing federal statutes.
If California does pass the California Assembly Bill 4, CA AB4, titled as “Medi-Cal: Eligibility,” it will become the first state in the nation to provide government-funded healthcare to adults who are in the country illegally.
The expense for providing healthcare coverage to low-income illegal immigrants is expected cost taxpayers over $3 billion per year.
Currently, some undocumented immigrants are receiving assistance through government-funded programs that make exceptions in cases of emergencies and pregnancies.
The larger question, and the impetus behind California’s move, is whether or not health care is a human right.
Health care as a topic, is a contentious debate within the United States.
The poorest Americans are able to get healthcare assistance from the federal government. The wealthiest Americans can afford insurance.
However, many legal Americans, described as the “working poor,” cannot afford health insurance. They earn too much money to qualify for low-income assistance with the cost of health insurance, yet, without assistance – those costs are not affordable. And this brings up an important question…
Should the United States be providing health care coverage to illegal immigrants, while a significant portion, some 25 million “working poor” Americans cannot afford health care? Is this fair?
Is this a further insult to these legal, working Americans that their tax dollars go to fund providing free healthcare to people who are not in the country legally, while these workers cannot afford their own health care?