The Gang of Eight – four Democratic and four Republican U.S. senators – has been meeting behind closed doors since January to produce “comprehensive immigration reform.” That will mean a multi-thousand-page bill that no one reads.
You know the saying “fool me twice.” Americans got bamboozled in 2010 when the 2,572-page Obama health law was rushed through Congress unread. The surprises buried in that law are causing havoc.
Let’s not repeat the mistake of “comprehensive” reform. Congress needs to fix immigration one step at a time, passing individual bills in plain English on border security, hiring, access to benefits such as ObamaCare and pathways to citizenship.
Short, readable bills will prevent shockers like the immigration provisions hidden in the Obama health law. Here are three examples – red flags for what’s ahead.
Americans are generous and welcoming, as we should be.
But in tough times, it’s fair to look after our own first. The Obama health law does the opposite, giving a better deal to noncitizens than to citizens.
Down In The Dumps
If you’re a citizen working for minimum wage and you are uninsured, the Obama health law will dump you onto Medicaid as of Jan. 1, 2014.
“Dump” is the right word. Medicaid is generally inferior coverage, largely because it pays doctors and hospitals so little.
Surgery patients on Medicaid are 50% more likely to die in the hospital than surgery patients with private coverage, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The better alternative – private coverage – is what low-income legal immigrants will get as of Jan. 1, 2014.
ObamaCare’s authors wanted to sidestep the longstanding federal requirement that newcomers wait five years to be eligible for Medicaid.
So they pulled a fast one, making legal immigrants immediately eligible for subsidized private plans on the insurance exchanges, with no waiting period and no income requirements.
That coverage is valued at about $3,000 more than Medicaid coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.