Many followers of the Republican Party have repeatedly said that undocumented immigrants do not have the entitlement to receive healthcare coverage: “these people are not from the country.” Supposedly they don’t pay taxes and are not well-deserving of welfare. Republicans assume that these people are in the U.S. merely to take jobs away, take money from tax-payers and become a burden to the nation’s economy. Nevertheless, immigrants do in fact pay taxes; most undocumented workers use false or stolen social security cards in order to be active in the labor force therefore paying taxes such as property tax, income tax and sales tax which they are never able to claim. I am not saying in any way that the means they use in order to work is appropriate or ethical, but they are contributing positively to the economy.
Moreover, not providing affordable healthcare coverage does have an outstanding impact to the overall health expenditure. First of all, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for government-funded health programs such as Medicaid or Medicare, they also do not qualify to participate in ACA’s health insurance marketplace; most of these immigrants have very low incomes and are not able to afford regular prices for private insurance premiums, hence they are unable to get conditions prevented or treated properly. Furthermore, when these conditions get out of control, they have no other option but to resort to emergency services—in many cases the people are able to find a way to pay the medical bills, but when the services and treatments provided are too expensive, the bills go unpaid and the government has to take care of such expenses via taxation.
If many citizens argue that health care of undocumented immigrants is costing them too much, then why are they not accepting of the idea of covering these immigrants under the ACA law? It would definitely make more sense because if these individuals were to enter the marketplace, then they would also be paying straight up for their own healthcare and they would actively contribute into the system. Secondly, with healthcare coverage, they would be able to use primary care services more efficiently and get conditions treated before they worsen thus lowering the overall burden in emergency hospitals. Studies performed in several states demonstrate that there is a large spending on healthcare for immigrants; in 2004, a study revealed that $1.4 billion were spent in California. In 2005, Colorado spent $3 million and Minnesota spent $17 million. In 2006, Texas spent about $1.3 billion. Although there are no precise studies on savings generated by insuring illegal immigrants, the Employee Benefit Research Institute informally estimated that roughly $11 billion would be saved yearly if around 6 million illegal immigrants were insured.
I understand that this is a difficult subject to discuss, but I believe that it is ethically wrong to deny health care coverage to a human being regardless of their legal status, especially if it seems to cost the country a little less in the long run.