And, for immediate coverage for all legal immigrants.
From The Washington Times this morning:
Fearful that they’re losing ground on immigration and health care, a group of House Democrats is pushing back and arguing that any health care bill should extend to all legal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants some access.
The Democrats, trying to stiffen their party’s spines on the contentious issue, say it’s unfair to bar illegal immigrants from paying their own way in a government-sponsored exchange. Legal immigrants, they say, regardless of how long they’ve been in the United States, should be able to get government-subsidized health care if they meet the other eligibility requirements.
Coverage for immigrants is one of the thorniest issues in the health care debate, and one many Democratic leaders would like to avoid. But immigrant rights groups and the Democrats who sent the letters say they have to take a stand now.
Most federal benefits for legal immigrants kick in at 5 years, however….
Under the 1996 welfare law overhaul, Congress restricted most federal benefits to longtime holders of green cards – those who have been in the country at least five years.
But Democrats chipped away at that rule when they reauthorized the State Children’s Health Insurance Program earlier this year and allowed states to cover all immigrant children and pregnant women, regardless of how long they’ve been in the country.
Refugees are eligible for all federal benefits almost immediately and that is one of the driving forces around the world for people to attempt to get “refugee” status as we see happening in those Thai refugee camps we told you about last night, here.
Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said proposals that include government coverage for illegal immigrants leave him incredulous.
“If anybody can, with a straight face, advocate that we should provide health insurance for people who broke into our country, broke our law and for the most part are criminals, I don’t know where they ever would draw the line,” he said.
Mr. King, who opposes Democrats’ health care plans in general, said illegal immigrant access in legislation “would be a poison pill that would cause health care to go down” to defeat.