Skip to comments.How immigration reform threatens health reform
Posted on 03/25/2010 6:10:22 AM PDT by aflipflop
Its rumored that President Obama will follow up his health care success with a push for immigration reform.
Its a bad idea not least because of the negative impact the latter will have on the former.
Predicting the cost of healthcare reform is hugely complex, but the core equation is reasonably straightforward. Every American will be required to buy insurance. Those who cannot afford insurance will be subsidized up to 400 percent above the poverty line, or $88,200 in annual income for a family of four. Subsidies will of course be concentrated most intensely among the poorest.
Logical enough -- even if difficult to execute.
But when this health plan meets immigration policy, ominous consequences ensue.
Since 1970, the United States has accepted about 40 million immigrants, more than 10 million since the year 2000. The majority of the post-2000 immigration has been illegal.
Over recent decades, the U.S. has operated an immigration policy that mostly by default favors unskilled workers. Unlike the waves of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before 1914, todays immigrants enter a very sophisticated technological economy and they arrive armed with little education. About 31 percent of adult immigrants in the U.S. lack a high school degree. Nor are their descendents having much success climbing the skills ladder. Among the single largest group of immigrants, Mexican-Americans, the third generation is significantly less likely to complete college than the second generation.
Todays immigrants have a strong work ethic: in fact they are more likely to work than the native-born. But they do not earn very much when they do work. And the low-wage occupations in which they cluster typically do not offer health insurance.
As a result:
about one-third of all foreign-born residents lacked health insurance even before the recession; about one in four of the uninsured were foreign born; more than 70 percent of the increase in the uninsured population since 1989 is due to immigrants and their children.
Had the U.S. run a different kind of immigration policy since 1970 had it emphasized skills, as Australia and Canada do our health insurance problem would be much easier and less costly to solve.
As is, the foreign-born will absorb a disproportionate share of the subsidies extended by the newly-enacted health plan. If we proceed with an immigration reform that legalizes the 10-12 million illegal workers currently in the country, the number of recipients of health-care subsidies will soar, adding hugely to health reforms future costs. Subsidies will be concentrated among the poorest and immigrants are 50 percent more likely to be poor than natives.
Donald Rumsfeld used to joke: If you dont know how to solve a problem, make it bigger. This is what the U.S. has been doing with its poverty problem since 1970, and it has not proved to be very good advice.
Can we quit now?
The immigration reform we need would do two things:
attract more highly-qualified immigrants who will contribute more in taxes than they consume in benefits; encourage low-skilled illegal immigrants to return home self-deportation as it is called by immigration experts.
Self-deportation does not involve round-ups or detentions. If you tighten work requirements deter employers from hiring illegals illegals will return home. Since the onset of the recession, an estimated 1 million illegals have already left the U.S., even in the absence of effective enforcement.
In a recent op-ed, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer described what effective enforcement would look like:
We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card. Each card's unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone's information. The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have.
Prospective employers would be responsible for swiping the cards through a machine to confirm a person's identity and immigration status. Employers who refused to swipe the card or who otherwise knowingly hired unauthorized workers would face stiff fines and, for repeat offenses, prison sentences.
If this system were in place in time for the next economic recovery, the U.S. could substantially reduce the illegal population even as better border controls prevent new immigrants from arriving. And if illegals are excluded from the new health exchanges, as the health care law dictates, health reform itself could well deter future illegal immigration.
And what of those who stay anyway?
Their children born in the U.S. will be citizens, raised here, qualifying for coverage. As for their parents: do nothing. Amnesty incentivizes new rounds of illegal immigration. Non-amnesty encourages illegals to return home with their savings as they age out of the labor force.
This is not a proposal to halt immigration. Its a call for rationalizing immigration. In some domains, in fact, health care reform may lead to a heightened need of immigrants. Who knows? If the Obama reforms squeeze the incomes of healthcare professionals tightly enough, doctoring may become one of those jobs that Americans just wont do.
(All statistics courtesy of the Center for Immigration Studies.)
Hey, Frum - as you noted, most immigrants are illegal - so what would 'rationalizing' immigration have to do with it? Illegals come here for lower-tier jobs despite official government policies.
Frum once again shows just how stupid RINOs can get when they try to act Beltway-smart.
I can’t stand Frum, but he nails this one. I am glad he is using CIS data. Robet Rector of the Heritage Foundation has estimated that an amnesty will cost us $2.6 trillion and that does not include the 70 to 100 million more legal immigrants who will be sponsored by those granted amnesty thru chain migration, i.e., family reunification.
Most immigrants are not illegal. We bring in 1.2 million LEGAL immigrants a year. An estimated 500,000 to a million enter illegally each year.
No, I can’t stand him either. He’s a Grade A weasel. The US should end the policy that makes anyone born here a citizen, even if his mother sneaked across the border just for that purpose.
Its a bad idea not least because of the negative impact the latter will have on the former.
Doesn't anyone GET it? As things are, even without Obama in power and his massive increase in spending BEFORE the HCR legislation, we were in huge economic trouble - as in bordering on a Depression. Add in Obama's spending to date and projected into the future (agains, sans HCR), and you can pretty much project that the economy will collapse and the currency will collapse shortly thereafter - all within the next few years. Yes, collapse, as in 25% or more unemployment, imports (like oil) jumping several hundred percent in price, and an inability to borrow from the world (which already exists - China is SELLING Treasuries, not buying hundreds of billions per year as they used to).
Now add in HCR - sans an immigration bill - and you've got an acceleration of the disaster. Even IF one buys the crack that the CBO is selling, this is a $1 trillion program that will result in roughly the same amount of taxes (over and above what we're already paying) over a 10-year period. I think - no, strike that, I KNOW - that we should either not tax the people and let the money be available to individuals and businesses for investment or debt repayment, or that the government itself should use the funds to lower the deficit. To spend more is insanity - and I do NOT believe that this program will even be close to revenue-neutral (let alone produce a surplus - that is simply laughable).
Now add in coverage of another 10 or 12 million people (for a start - that's before they have more kids, and before their families and friends still in Mexico or wherever decide that going to the US is a great deal), and you've got a CERTAIN recipe for disaster.
Disaster. As in "crisis." That's the point, that's the fooking OBJECTIVE! I despise Rahm Emmanuel, but at least the SOB was honest when he said that "you can't let a good crisis go to waste." Unsaid was that if you don't have a "good crisis" (WTF is that? By definition, a crisis is not a good thing - or maybe I missed that class), then you CREATE a "good crisis" in order to "do those things that you otherwise believe that you could not do."
Folks, this is PLANNED. Collapse of our economy is the GOAL - because that will enable Obama and the rest of his crew to use the power of the tools passed by Bush and the Republicans in the wake of 9/11, plus pass even more restrictive (to liberty) legislation. I guarantee you that a gun grab is one of the top things on the list, though I somehow can't get through my thick skull the link between "too many" guns (defined as "one or more guns not in the hands of the police or military") and economic problems. GUARANTEED, the government will take our IRAs and 401(k) plans and force them to be invested in government bonds, plus they will require all of us to put a minimum amount each year into these plans (oh, but they'll "guarantee" us a 3% or so return - which I trust as far as I can throw an aircraft carrier). Before you say "no way!" consider that the HCR legislation mandates that we all buy insurance. If they can do that, they can limit your investment options on retirement plans with no trouble.
There's a storm coming, soon, and it is being purposely hastened by a cabal of like-thinking people that has been trying for 40 or more years to take control of the country. They now control the levers of power, which makes it all but inevitable unless those levers are ripped from their hands, and SOON.
Although, I do agree with Frum that 0bama’s immigration reform (amnesty) will explode heathcare costs. If we do have to have immigration reform however, maybe the silver lining would be a small provision that kicks Frum out of the country and back to Canada.
[but the core equation is reasonably straightforward. Every American will be required to buy insurance. Those who cannot afford insurance will be subsidized up to 400 percent above the poverty line, or $88,200 in annual income for a family of four. Subsidies will of course be concentrated most intensely among the poorest. ]
I will refuse to pay. I believe many others will also refuse to pay. I also refuse to hire, at least on the books (there are many legal ways to do this as well). That means nothing is reasonably straightforward, you can see the collapse coming a mile away.