Monday, January 15, 2007

Give Health Care Away, And They Will Take It

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A San Francisco Chronicle editorial supporting Governor Schwarzennegger’s proposal for universal California health insurance noted that 52% of Californians are for universal coverage, yet 52% oppose it for illegal aliens. The Chronicle wonders how Californians can be for universal coverage, but not for it to be truly universal. The Chronicle, or course, believes that illegal aliens should be given health care, and contends that wouldn’t attract more illegal aliens to California.

I, of course, believe that when you give away something of value, you attract people who would like to have it. They may be illegal aliens that would have gone to some other state, but find the free health coverage too attractive to pass up. They might be legal residents or citizens of other states, who find free health care too attractive to pass up and come to California for it. Free health care in California for anyone who comes to California and wants it certainly won’t discourage anyone from coming to California.

Send us your poor, your sick, your uneducated, your unskilled, your seekers after freebies, your cash basis workers who pay no taxes, your criminals, your gang-bangers...

The Chronicle doesn’t worry about the issues that bother Californians and make them oppose free health care for illegal aliens. According to the Chronicle editorial:

For Schwarzenegger to sell Californians on his plan, he will have to confront these fears -- firmly but empathetically. This includes fears about how universal insurance could have a so-called "magnet effect." Illegal immigrants come here to work, not to milk our social programs. Regarding cost, a recent Rand Institute study showed that illegal immigrants use fewer health services than their American-born counterparts -- and little public money.

Actually, the Chronicle is either lying or in error in its last remark that the Rand study found that illegal immigrants use “little public money.” Perhaps the Chronicle would say it was clear that they only meant illegals used little public money for health services, but their comment is not clearly qualified that it is just about health services. It actually should read that “illegal aliens use relatively little public money for health care.”

The word “relatively” has significance, since illegal aliens do consume at least a billion dollars ($11 in taxes per household) in government funded health services each year, per the Rand study, compared to $88 billion for legal non-elderly adults in 2000. Since this is an area where you would expect significant underreporting because of the difficulty in identifying expenditures for illegal aliens, it is a logical assumption that the cost for illegal alien health services is actually much higher. Also, the cost is not distributed evenly across the country, but is concentrated on the taxpayers of certain states, like California, and of certain cities, like Los Angeles.

As this news series in 2005 found:

Sixty percent of (Los Angeles) county's uninsured patients are not U.S. citizens. More than half are here illegally. About 2 million undocumented aliens in Los Angeles County alone are crowding emergency rooms because they can't afford to see a doctor.

The Rand study dilutes the impact of illegal aliens on health services by spreading the numbers and cost over the entire country, and the Chronicle aids their effort by acting as if this national study describes the California scene.

However, in a Los Angeles TV special series: “(In 2004), Los Angeles County spent $340 million to treat the uninsured; that's roughly $1,000 for every taxpayer.”

Based on the estimates that half of the uninsured patients are illegals, that’s a yearly cost of roughly $500 for every Los Angeles taxpayer for illegal alien health care, a lot more than $11 per household.

Of course, it is not true that illegal aliens use little public money, and even the Rand study pointed out that: "Costs will be much higher for educating the children of undocumented immigrants, so that's where debate should center, not on these relatively small health care costs."

The Chronicle doesn't make any mention, or even hint, that there might be a cost in an illegal alien crime wave.

Or that the illegal alien's "cash economy" is destructive of employment and businesses of citizens and legal immigrants.

Drawing from the information above, twenty percent of the population of Los Angeles County are illegal aliens. Further, “By 2002, more than 70 percent of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District were Hispanic, predominantly Mexican, with the proportion increasing steadily.”

For California in 2004, roughly $7.7 billion was spent to educate the children of illegal aliens, or 13% of the statewide school budget. Naturally, the costs were high in areas of illegal alien concentration such as Los Angeles.

Defenders of illegal aliens assert that the cost of educating illegal alien students is offset by the taxes paid by their parents, but study after study shows that immigrants cost taxpayers much more in public services used than they pay into the system via taxes. This is particularly true of illegal immigrants, who are disproportionately low-skilled and thus low-earning and are much more likely to be working in the underground economy or providing contractual services and not withholding taxes.
The bottom line, don’t take editorials in Liberal mouthpieces like the San Francisco Chronicle at face value. The Chronicle, like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, & Etc, is pedaling a political agenda and has no ethical or professional reservations about how they selectively choose and distort information to make their point.

Yeah, I'm shocked too.

Please click on the label below to see all my articles on this topic.

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