When NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked the 10 candidates in Thursday's second Democratic presidential debate to say whether illegal aliens will be covered under their “free” healthcare plans, hands shot into the air with such speed the leftist worthies looked like a bunch of grade-school kids who knew which president said, “I cannot tell a lie.”
“Free” healthcare for illegals might have been one of the few times the candidates weren’t lying, but at any rate the moderators let the out-of-the-blue policy proposal go by without asking the obvious question: How much will providing healthcare to all those illegals cost?
Happily, Breitbart.com reminded everyone what it costs now — nearly $20 billion annually. However, some quick calculations show that the cost would be much more than that if all illegal aliens join Medicare for All — about $50 billion.
Writing for Forbes’ Apothecary feature in February 2018, Chris Conover put the cost of healthcare for illegal aliens at $18.5 billion, with $11.2 billion of that total coming from the federal government. Conover used the Pew Research Center’s illegal-alien population estimate of 11.3 million, an estimate that dropped to 10.5 million in 2019.
Wrote Conover, “Current federal policy is to prohibit federal tax funding of health care to unauthorized immigrants through either Medicaid or Obamacare. Nevertheless, rough estimates suggest that the nation’s 3.9 million uninsured immigrants who are unauthorized likely” cost federal taxpayers a bundle: $4.6 billion in direct subsidies and another $5.7 billion through the employer tax exclusion for employers and employees, who don’t pay taxes on health premiums. Illegals cost state and local taxpayers $2.8 billion, and they receive $4.5 billion in charity care from doctors and hospitals, the latter including “bad debts arguably cost-shifted to private patients.”
Conover estimated that about 7.7 million illegals have some form of health coverage, If these 7.7 million illegals were given access to Medicare for All, which is what the Democratic presidential candidates are proposing, then this huge influx would obviously balloon the cost way beyond the current $18.5 billion figure.
Let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations. Conover estimated that 3.9 million of 11.3 million illegals aliens here cost about $18.5 billion in “free” healthcare. But adjusting the 11.3-million figure downward to reflect Pew's updated illegal-alien population estimate (10.5 million), and assuming the 3.9-million and $18.5-billion figures would drop proportionately, then this 3.6 million illegals would cost about $17 billion annually.
If all 10.5 million illegal aliens land on the federal healthcare dole via the Democrats' Medicare for All proposal, the number receiving “free” healthcare jumps 192 percent, from 3.6 million to 10.5 million. Assuming costs increase by the same percentage, we can expect the cost for illegal-alien healthcare to soar to about $50 billion.
Granted, some illegals might not join Medicare for All if the proposal left private-industry options available. But given the party's radicalism, we have no reason to believe a Democratic president and Congress wouldn't opt for socialist Bernie Sanders' plan, which ends all private health insurance. As well, the notion that healthcare will be "free" will provide everyone, not just illegals, with an incentive to join Medicare for All.
The cost of providing healthcare for illegals in 2018 was about $57 per U.S. resident, Conover calculated. But what “concerns me the most — $11.2 billion borne by federal taxpayers — amounts to $34 per U.S. resident.”
That figure has changed, obviously, but Conover’s observation holds:
Admittedly, one could argue that since the amounts at stake are so small, this is not an issue worth fighting about. However, it is precisely that sort of thinking that has led us to today's dismal reality that unfunded liabilities facing Uncle Sam now are roughly $200 trillion and rising.
The socialists running under the Democrat banner see future voters in all those illegals, whom they hope to make citizens by offering free stuff.
Imagine how those unfunded liabilities will grow if the number of illegal aliens on the public dime increases by almost 200 percent.
In 2017, the Federation for Immigration Reform offered nearly an identical figure for illegal-alien healthcare, and broke the expense into four categories:
• Uncompensated Hospital Expenditure $8.2 billion
• Medicaid Births $1.2 billion
• Improper Medicaid Payments $3.5 billion
• Medicaid for U.S.-born Children of Illegal Aliens $4.2 billion
Total: $17.1 billion.
But again, as Forbes noted, those are illegals who don’t pay for their medical care or don’t have employer-provided health insurance.
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