Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Health Care for Undocumented Aliens

I thought long and hard about whether to introduce politics here. I don't think many people, if any really, will actually read this, but there is always a certain element of risk when one takes a public stand on an issue. However, I strongly believe in public discourse and would like to add my voice to the clamor.

You were probably just as surprised as everyone else when you heard Rep. Joe Wilson interrupt the President's speech with his outburst. You have also probably viewed and read enough coverage on how rude he was (or wasn't) or how mistaken (or right) he is on the issue. However, I would like this opportunity to bring up something which I think is being largely ignored, something about which I have been thinking since Wilson's outburst.

I believe there is a strong economic case for insuring those that currently lack health insurance. Health care is already provided for them, the extremely expensive kind that they receive in the emergency room. And, when the uninsured are unable to pay for that care, we, those of us that can pay because we are insured, pay for that care when the the costs are passed on. So, it appears that we would save money by providing health care coverage for all, a savings produced when the formerly uninsured receive preventative or less expensive care from regular doctors.

By the same argument, shouldn't we provide health care coverage to undocumented aliens too? I know that this is a heretical view, but please, hear me out. If the argument made above in favor of providing coverage for the uninsured is accurate, and I believe there is strong evidence that this is so, wouldn't the same argument apply to undocumented aliens as well? Health care for undocumented aliens is the same emergency care relied upon by the uninsured. And when the undocumented alien is unable to pay, or is detained and deported like many want, who do you think will pay for that emergency care? That's right, you and I. So why not opt for the less expensive option by providing universal health care coverage, for every man, woman, and child who lives in our great country?

If you are truly interested, Andrew Romano has written an article for Newsweek that does a much better job of covering this issue than I could ever do.

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