Time to Bar Illegals From Medicaid

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 02:39 PM

By James Walsh

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The president, members of Congress, governors, and state legislators lament the waste, fraud, and abuse bankrupting Medicaid. As a federal program administered by the states, Medicaid provides free health services for poor children and disabled and elderly persons.

Medicaid thus differs from Medicare, whose recipients have monthly payments subtracted from their salaries or Social Security checks. Social Security is a byproduct of the 1930s Great Depression and the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). Medicaid and Medicare are products of the 1960s and the Great Society of Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ).

Legislators lament that federal expenditures are outdistancing tax revenues; yet they refuse to deal with one cause of the current Medicaid insolvency — health services being provided free of charge to uncounted undocumented immigrants (illegal aliens).

This is despite amendments that exclude undocumented immigrants from receiving Medicaid benefits. In reaction, it became politically incorrect to question a Medicaid applicant’s citizenship.

Up until the 2010 election, attempts by congressional Republicans to reign in Medicaid benefits provided to illegal aliens were routinely repulsed by the Democratic majority. This Democratic stance can be traced back to the War on Poverty/Great Society legislation, yet despite 50 years of taxpayer-funded Medicaid benefits, the poor are still with us.

Advocates of unrestricted immigration say the United States has a duty to accept all migrants without question, even though no other country has such an obligation.

Legislators lament that the states with the largest number of indigent residents (legal and otherwise) tend to receive the most Medicaid dollars. Someone is counting illegal aliens.

The Obama “stimulus” bill (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009) allocated $87 billion to states for Medicaid, and Congress later added another $16 billion. Some state governors did not accept this one-time allocation, realizing that state taxpayers would have to shoulder the cost of continuing Medicaid projects introduced by the “stimulus.”

In November 2010, citizen-voters cast their ballots to temper the Democrat “tax-and-spend” mantra with fiscal responsibility to curb the waste, fraud, and abuse that threaten Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Legislators lament but still accept the guestimates compiled by government agencies and immigration advocates on the number of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.

The various methodologies used by demographers have yet to establish a definitive number, but the count could reach 20 million to 36 million. A Family Foundation report estimated that 48.5 million persons were enrolled in Medicaid as of 2009 and that in 2010, Medicaid costs increased by 8.8 percent.

Although the numbers of illegal aliens remain guestimates, the costs and accompanying debts are real, and taxpayers know it. The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, estimates Medicaid benefits received by illegal aliens at from $48 billion to $76 billion annually. Evidence suggests that a large portion of these costs involve fraudulent Medicaid claims by patients, medical providers, and immigrant advocates or enablers.

Legislators lament but do little to require government and non-government entities to enforce and obey existing, on-the-books U.S. immigration laws. The time has come for legislators to fulfill their oversight responsibilities by requiring the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to curb illegal immigration. It is time for legislative action against sanctuary states and cities that defy U.S. immigration laws.

It is time for Congress to provide for expedited deportation of illegal alien criminals and to make criminal gang membership a deportable offense. It is time for Congress to provide oversight of enforcement of federal criminal statutes that deal with making false statements to government agencies. It is time for these statutes to be applied to undocumented immigrants and their aiders and abettors.

Legislators lament but fail to amend healthcare laws to close loopholes such as those in Medicaid and Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009) that provide free healthcare for persons with incomes up to133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Amendments are needed to allow the states to tailor Medicaid expenditures to meet their respective needs without costly supervision by Washington bureaucrats. Many states are considering moving to managed care companies for Medicaid. Another option is to return community healthcare to county health departments.

Legislators lament but step back from acting to eliminate Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse. A 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found at least $100 billion of duplication waste in government discretionary spending. A 2008 GAO report that recommended improved oversight of states supplemental payments was ignored by the then Democrat-controlled Congress.

Amnesty is not the answer. It is time for Congress to pass a 21st century guest-worker program that provides legal migration for a period of months each year. Guest-workers with legal immigration papers could enter the United States to work and return to their homelands each year. No more scaling border fences.

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