Medical Cost of Illegal Aliens Is Hot Potato

Wednesday, 01 Aug 2012 08:16 PM

By James Walsh

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No one wants to diagnose the major healthcare problem facing the United States today, and no one wants to acknowledge the role of illegal aliens in driving Medicare and Medicaid over the cliff.

Medicare, a federal health insurance policy amended to the Social Security program (Title XVIII) in 1965, is not nor has it ever been free.

obama-on-immigration.jpg
President Obama announced that no deportations would be processed of well-behaved illegal aliens under 30.
(Getty Photo)
U.S. workers have Medicare payments deducted from their paycheck and after retirement from their Social Security check. Medicare covers about 80 percent of bills for hospitals, doctors, medicine, rehabilitation, and ambulance services for persons over 65 years of age, persons younger than 65 with certain disabilities, and all persons with end-stage kidney failure.

To cover the balance, Medicare customers purchase supplemental insurance on the open market. Medicare is impacted when Congress regularly raids the Social Security account for other purposes.

In contrast, Medicaid is a federal assistance program for low-income and disabled persons paid for by taxpayers at large. Medicaid also was amended to the Social Security program (Title XIX).

Medicare is today a troubled program bloated by unemployment and illegal immigration.

Medicare and Medicaid were passed by Congress in 1965 as part of the Great Society and War on Poverty of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ). The Democrat Party then controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress.

Democrats anticipated that Medicaid would be governed by a set of complex rules and bureaucratic regulations with the states determining eligibility. Medicaid costs for the 1960s were estimated at $2.5 billion to $4.7 billion per year. By 2008, Medicaid costs had mushroomed to an unsustainable $299 billion, and that was four years ago.

Even though Medicare recipients are paying customers, the Social Security Administration (SSA) lumps Medicare and Medicaid together under public assistance expenditures. In contrast, Medicaid is public assistance.

As one Democrat Congresswoman noted, “It’s free money.” It is not. Taxpayers pay Medicaid bills of indigent citizens and noncitizens, among them illegal aliens.


The theoretical concept of the Great Society/War on Poverty programs was to equalize the “haves and the have-nots.”

Redistribution of wealth was advanced by revising immigration laws. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA), sponsored by Senator Phil Hart, D-MI, and Congressman Emanuel Celler, D-NY, opened the doors to third-world immigrants.

Developed countries, mostly in Europe, had been the primary recipients of U.S. immigrant visas. Dissent was drowned out by LBJ and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who assured Americans there would be “no demographic changes in the population.”

LBJ, Senator Kennedy, and Congressional Democrats had to know that the INA would change U.S. demographics, just as Medicaid would increase the dependency of U.S. citizens and non-citizens on the federal government. They had to know that Medicaid plus open-door immigration would reshape the nation as an entitlement state drawing legal and illegal immigrants.

Half a century later, a Jan. 22, 2008, USA Today article did dare address the rising costs of healthcare for illegal aliens, stating: “. . . illegal immigrants rely on a patchwork of federally funded community health centers, which charge little for basic services and don’t seek proof of citizenship.” The number of illegal aliens on Medicaid continues to rise.

On June 15, President Barack Obama announced that no deportations would be processed of well-behaved illegal aliens under 30 years of age, who instead would be issued two-year work permits. This is another example of executive-bureaucratic fiat in violation of U.S. immigration laws.

Over the years, Medicaid eligibility has been widened far beyond the law. States have permitted legal and illegal aliens, such as student visa holders, to benefit from lax Medicaid eligibility.

Untold numbers of illegal aliens, posing as legal residents and using forged and fraudulent documents, receive Medicaid benefits for children and “disabled” adults and Medicare for elderly non-citizens.

On July 27, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council president explained how President Obama’s June 15 executive/bureaucratic fiat providing work permits for illegal alien youths is being applied.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have instructed U.S. Border Patrol agents to release any alien who claims to have gone to high school. No agent may question a person’s claim of being a “DREAMER” (an illegal alien youth), nor may an agent question a claimant’s age or language skills.

Across the nation, it is now unacceptable to question any applicant for benefits about their citizenship, for to do so would demonstrate insensitivity and racist bias. The mounting costs of Medicaid and other health, education, social, and welfare programs are causing financial angst among local, state, and federal government agencies.

What exactly are illegal aliens costing the nation? The last federal report on estimated national costs for illegal aliens was issued on July 25, 1995.

No one wants to touch this hot potato.

James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.

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