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August 14th, 2009
10:21 AM ET

Will health reform cover illegal immigrants?

By John Bonifield
CNN Medical News Producer

It's a loaded issue - will health reform include coverage for illegal immigrants? President Obama has said no, with a possible exception for children, and the plans being drafted by Congress bar illegal immigrants. However, opponents say that the House bill leaves loopholes that may allow undocumented residents to benefit.

"There's no system for verification," said Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a lobbying group that aims to reduce immigration.

"On the one hand, they have language in there that says illegal aliens are not going to be eligible, but at the same time they're getting a lot of heat from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, from the Hispanic leadership groups, that say we want everybody covered including illegal aliens," Mehlman said. "They're trying to have it both ways here. They're saying to the public, 'Don't worry. Illegal aliens aren't being covered,' and they're turning around to these special interests and saying, 'Well, don't worry. There really is no system to prevent them.'"

In July, Democrats voted down an amendment to the House bill that would have required mechanisms to verify citizenship. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which advocates on behalf of Latinos, said in a statement to CNN that health reform should include legal immigrants who have followed the rules.

"The issue of undocumented immigrants is a separate one that is too often used to confuse the health-care debate. When it comes to undocumented immigrants, the caucus' priority is seeing comprehensive immigration reform enacted," said Rep. Nydia Velázquez, a Democrat from New York, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

That's something Obama has said he'd like to see as well - immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship - and legal access to the health plan.

It's estimated that illegal immigrants and their children make up about 17 percent of uninsured people in the U.S., according to recent data by the Pew Hispanic Center. Long-term estimates by the Congressional Budget Office predict that 17 million people will remain uninsured under the reforms of the House bill. Nearly half of them are projected to be illegal immigrants.

Tell us what you think. Should health reform include coverage for illegal immigrants?

Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Nick Farbacher

    Dr Gupta: Here's my perspective on the Health Care Problem:
    I'm 64 next monday, No insurance, I've been a graphic artist, fine artist, designer working all my adult life. I have a tumor in my abdomen.
    I find you can get medical attention if your on welfare, which I'm not.
    You can get great care if you have insurance and are pro active.
    But if you make a little you'll go bankrupt. I've researched a cat scan. At the hospital a cat scan costs $860 to $1200 this same product at a discount Radiology place (and they exist) is $200 to $300. Why. There's the problem. No one pill is worth hundreds of dollars. The shouting is about money not the constitution, not rights or justice. Someone's Ox is getting gored. The influence of the machine is influencing media through simple misguided people, these people are fead "The position" and they blindly repeat it at the top of their lungs.
    While I'm tiring to find care I can afford, in an industry for profit not healing . . . the chance for change is being muddy up by "American Greed" "Human Nature" a'la coporate bull. Medicine is to be an art of healing . . . America sent industry to China and makes Medicine the new industry . . . to the point that only the few can afford it. . . We did the same thing to housing. . . Is there no common sense to be had

    August 14, 2009 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. A.A.W.

    I don't think so. If they aren't in our country legally, they shouldn't have coverage. They should apply for citizenship if they want coverage.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ed

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus? Pew Hispanic Center? Hispanic Leadership groups? It looks like Hispanic interests are being represented. Why is free health care for illegal aliens something that any AMERICAN special interest group or politician be working for? Who is working for We The People of the United States?

    August 14, 2009 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. GF, Los Angeles

    NO!! My tax dollars should not support illegals nor their children when it comes to health, education, etc. Over $397 billion have gone to illegals for social services since 1996. That doesn't even include the cost for education or incarceration of illegals. This country is broke – Los Angeles has 3 – days a month furloughs for governent workers – teachers are getting laid off – ENOUGH! This is why I did not want Obama as the President. His catering to the Hispanic special interest groups is not American!

    August 14, 2009 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Allan DeGorf

    Health reform should NOT cover illegal aliens. The sensible thing to do is to provide a means by which each illegal man, woman, and child would be returned to their home country if/when they came forth voluntarily - yes, even at our expense. There would be no penalty involved, and each alien would be allowed to return with whatever visa he/she could obtain legally. The quid pro quo would be that those aliens who did NOT come forth voluntarily would be deported when they surfaced (as eventually they all would). For these there would be no hasty marriages or labor certifications and such. No exceptions. These would be barred from obtaining visas for a set period of time. (Ten years?) Those now in schools who have been here for a long time and are now thoroughly Americanized should be deported too - mostly so we can identify who they are, etc. - and given student visas with which they could return immediately. They then could be treated exactly like we handle foreign students now. Those children born here to illegal aliens are automatically citizens and can not be deported. But that doesn't mean their illegal alien parents can't. The child can accompany its parents or it can stay here with (presumably legal) relatives. When the child turns twenty-one, it can petition for its parents.

    Those found to be harboring illegal aliens should be fined heavily. If there were medical services illegally obtained, they should be made to reimburse the cost of those services. Repeat offenders should be made known and jailed or made publically to perform community services, If they are non-citizens, they should summarily be deported.

    Illegals have no health insurance. When they are injured or ill, they go to an emergency ward. The rest of us taxpayers pay for their care. (This is also true of the steely-eyed super-patriots who take pride in NOT having health insurance because they don't want government interference forcing them into paying for anybody's socialist health care. When they are injured or ill, we pay for them too.)

    The public option poses a threat to the insurance companies profits, pure and simple. That's why they're willing to spend Big Bucks to intimidate voters with half-truths and distortions. (It's socialism! The sky is falling! Next they'll take away our guns! Omigawd!) They're laughing all the way to the bank.

    August 14, 2009 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Lillian Hannaford

    Hi: As a Canadian under medicare, I find that many Americans have been misinformed about our medicare. In 1991 I had breast cancer, in 1999 I had pre-cervical cancer and in November 2008 I had a total left hip replacement. From the time I was advised by my own doctor of the cancer, 24 hours later the cancer procedures, biopsy, lupectomy, and radition were in progress. The government does not pick your doctors for you, you have a general practice physician who refers you to a few specialists, and by word of mouth, you choose which doctor you want. When I had hip replacement I could choose from 5 different ortho men and I picked the doctor I felt comfortable with. When a Canadian citizen goes to the U.S. or Europe to obtain services, it is their choice and they are impatient and want to feel important. I do not feel that waiting 3 months to have a hip replaced is extreme. Those who rush to other countries have the extra money to feel important and demand attention right away. Most Canadians are quite happy getting care in due time and not having to go bankrupt to pay hospital bills. As I am 70 years old I feel throughout the years I have received the best medical care considering the problems I have encountered and today I feel great with a new lease on life. Most Canadians who have required medical attention get what they need.

    Thank you for reading this note and I do hope that your citizens get what they want and need. Scare tactics are not beneficial to anyone especially families with children who require medical attention without the fear of going bankrupt.

    August 14, 2009 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. karen

    I almost didn't answer this question because it is so ridiculous. Of course we shouldn't cover illegal immigrants. Thats why they are called illegal. You have got to be kidding. Where is it going to end?
    When do us hard working middle class get a break??? We will not pay for illiegal immigrants to have Health Insurance. Period.

    August 14, 2009 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. John Zulaski

    Cover illegal aliens and force people who dont want coverage to get coverage.... hmmmm. Coverage of illegals must be addressed, it's not a separate issue. Treating illegals is necessary to reduce the spread of disease, however, they already get treated and taxpayers wind up footing the bill thru higher hospital fees. Having taxpayers foot the bill is outrageous. Lawmakers need to have some courage and address the illegal immigration issue, passing the responsibility on to taxpayers is dispicable.

    August 14, 2009 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. suchitra waugh

    India,with all its poverty,provides the best of health care at very affordable prices.My son is a green card holder,living in Seattle,& everytime I worry,even when he has a toothache or has a fever.U.S is a land of opportunity which has the best of healthcare,out of reach for most.A lot of the illegal immigrants would like to become legal,people who have maintained themselves by working hard & doing the jobs that legal immigrants & U.S.citizens would not touch,for less than half pay.The system has exploited these illegals.Instead of breeding fear in them,why doesn't the present administration declare an amnesty & legalise the deserving,who have toiled without breaking the law without always resorting to the same argument,that they broke the primary law &that is,that they came in illegally.Ofcourse,illegal immigrants must be covered.You cannot use them when it suits you & then treat them as human garbage.There are families with kids involved here.The Bush administration has perpetrated enough misery around the world with its policies post 9/11,causing a world wide economic collapse &attacking an innocent country.My heart was bursting the day Obama got elected.I felt proud that my son was living in the greatest country in the world.Obama & his administration must be pragmatic & health care MUST be available to every living human being,otherwise the U.S will be responsible for goverment sanctioned deaths of innocents on its own soil.And for God's sake,bring down the prices of basic drugs.They cost 5 times what it costs in India.

    August 15, 2009 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donald

      What you have to remember Suchitra is these people aren't innocent they broke the law by coming to our country illegally. There are legal means to enter OUR country. These countries would not allow me to just enter their borders and stay, they'd most likely lock me in jail, best case scenario I'd be deported so why should their responsibilities (their citizens) be allowed to break the law and stay in our country and use MY and everyone else's tax dollars that they are not paying. I believe like this there are people, even though here illegally, who go to attorneys and fight for the right to be US citizens once they are here. That's great, why don't all illegal immigrants do this? Apparently they want a free ride. If you are here legally or illegally and trying to become a US citizen then ok you can get the benefits, because you are most likely paying taxes. If you're here illegally the US government should deport your butt. Doctors who don't report illegal immigrants should lose their license to practice for 5 years (not even be allowed to volunteer or work at any medical facility), employers who do this should pay fines that should be given back to honest hard working US citizens who pay their taxes. My views aren't meant to offend anyone but if you believe in obeying the law then you must obey all laws, whether you agree with them or not, otherwise, you are a hypocrite.

      August 23, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
  10. John

    This morning on Dr. Gupta program House Call , Dr, Gupta interviewed Wendell Porter concerning the health care and universal care. It was interesting that center of the discussion was the health care insurance company was the problem for the higher cost and the executives have the tall building and large profits. Let's check on the status of the doctors that attend to my treatment, they own or lease a large office space buildings, live in gated communites or high end communities drive expensive cars, send their children to high end colleges. We all want the best for our families or next generation.
    Why is Dr. Gupta making out as if the health insurance companyies was the cause of the health care situation? Is it because "they" health industry is just a "they". No face or name! The industry supports thousand of people who help people. The health care employees have to buy health insurance. Dr. Gupta is it easier to blame the health industry for the problems and not look at the other parts of the health care issue, legislation, negligent care, over testing or treatment, and cost.
    Why doesn't House Call look into the 3 or 4 different legislation that is over 1100 pages each. The augment is made that the insurance policies are to long and hard to read and must conform to reading status that and individual with a high school education to understand, I have read parts of on of the House bill. The table of contents is longer than most insurance policies. Why doesn't the legislation be easier to read for a high school student? There is a statement made some years ago to me, " make it long, they wrote read it after the first page". This is what Congress is doing to the health care legislation.
    Congress can not make the prefect machine not matter how many pages the write.
    Would the Dr. Guptas'of the medical world give up the gated communities and TV shows to treat persons for nothing. Would the doctors want to be paid by when the corps come in the fall? The answer is no!
    It is not just the health industry problem, we created the ills. Wanting something for nothing until we could not afford it anymore!

    It is still the best health care in the world.

    Wendell Porter, a retired executive from health care industry, it is interesting he did not come forward until he got his retirement and "bonus". Where was he before? Just another talking head for TV to get a consulting fee?

    Thnaks for reading!

    August 15, 2009 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jean Powers

    NO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SHOULD BE COVERED UNDER THE
    HEALTH PROGRAM. THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY AND SHOULD
    NOT BENEFIT FROM BREAKING THE LAW. OUR COUNTRY HAS
    NO JOBS FOR OUR OWN LET ALONE ALL OF THE ILLEGALS.
    THE EMPLOYERS THAT HIRE THEM SHOULD BE FINED AND
    PUT IN JAIL – WE MUST START ENFORCING OUR IMMIGRATION
    LAWS THAT ARE IN TACT. AMERICAN CITIZENS DO NOT GET
    THE HEALTH CARE THEY NEED BECAUSE OF THE ILLEGAL
    IMMIGRANTS AND THIS MUST STOP.
    I AM COMPLETELY AGAINST ANY HEALTH PROGRAM THAT
    PROVIDES HEALTH CARE TO THE ILLEGAL – THAT WILL MEAN
    A CITIZEN WILL GET IT INSTEAD – PLUS THE ILLEGAL'S TAKE
    JOBS FROM OUR CITIZENS – AND WE CERTAINLY DO NOT HAVE
    JOBS TO GIVE AWAY. THEY GET ALL THE BENEFITS THAT A
    CITIZEN GETS WHICH IN TURN TAKES AWAY FROM A CITIZEN
    THIS IS WRONG – WE HAVE WORKED FOR OUR RIGHTS AND
    SHOULD NOT HAVE TO GIVE THEM TO PEOPLE THAT HAVE
    COME HERE ILLEGALLY – BREAKING THE LAW AND THEN\
    RECEIVE BENEFITS THAT TRULY BELONG TO US.
    NO ON ILLEGAL HEALTH CARE.

    August 15, 2009 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Barbara Schuh

    An illegal alien marries an American citizen & they have a child. Mom & child are eligible for a family health care plan as US citizens. VOILA! The illegal alien gets health care ubder the "family plan".

    August 15, 2009 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Amanda

    No way! It is not America's job to pay for Mexico's citizens health care. If they want to become legal US citizens and contribute like the rest of us then wonderful. But until they become legal the answer should be NO.

    August 15, 2009 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Frank

    This whole argument is yet another bundle of falsehoods, bigotry, and half-truths, wrapped with a thin shell of reality, fed up to the ignorant public.

    People are basically afraid of freeloaders overwhelming the system and thus preventing those who've paid into the system from "getting theirs". But we're already bearing the costs of health care for the uninsured, and this includes illegal immigrants. Public hospitals w/government funding are prohibited from denying care from people w/o ability to pay. People who put off going to the hospital until they need critical care typically are many, many times more expensive to treat, too.

    What is needed is exactly what the administration describes – a path to citizenship. This can help prevent a tidal surge toward welfare like the one Britain faced when the border restrictions in Europe were relaxed, and when the Chunnel opened.

    Many of the illegal immigrants already support the system by working low wage jobs that support some other taxpayer. Illegal immigrants that can become legal naturalized citizens can also contribute taxes to the system. Without the threat of extradition, they are more likely to seek care when it can be preventative or less expensive.

    August 15, 2009 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dennis Rohlinger

    If all are to be covered by health specialists, what if doctors say
    they are loaded and can't accept new patients. IS THE GOV'T going to force doctors to take on more than they can handle?

    August 15, 2009 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Richard Becker

    According to HR3200 which is really the only document being looked at illegal immigrants aren't covered BUT, there are no provision to prevent them for getting the health care any ways. Neither the House nor Senate will adopt any legislation that would require recipients to provide proof of citizenship or REAL documentation that people are in this country legally. They have in fact voted against amendments that would do just that. They are saying on one hand that illegals cannot get these benefits but won't do anything to prevent them from fraudulently getting it on the other hand. They politicians are dishonest at best out right liars at worst. The content in HR3200 is an large example of what these politicians in the House want to do to American Citizens. That is frightening that these congress persons have in mind for the general population but not for thamselves.

    August 15, 2009 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Annette of Colorado

    Should illegals be covered in the health reform? To even ask that question is absurd. What is it about illegal that you don't understand? The Congressional Hispanic Caucus's statement that illegals who have played by the rules should be covered is insane. What rules have they played by when they broke the rules coming here illegally in the first place? What nonsense! You want me to pay for healthcare for people who have no right to be here? How about sending them home and letting their own country pay for their health care? The Hispanic Caucus ought to be lobbying their latin countries to care for their own people. The illegals are bankrupting this country - just ask California - and we are on a path where they will be a major reason for the demise of this country if we don't get a grip very soon. Oh, and by the way, they already get free health care by going to our emergency rooms and don't pay.

    August 15, 2009 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Gigi

    I am a nurse and worked recently in a position where I witnessed undocumented (NOT SPANISH) families from a couple of countries in the Southern Asian continent enrolled in a NY city hospital heath plan (they don't require proof of citizenship, are cheap, and cover preexisting conditions). They receive treatment and medicine needed at a very low cost. When family (like elderly grandparents) come for a visits from abroad, they are also immediately enrolled in these programs, seek immediate medical attention, and have all medical needs covered at a minimal cost too. All of these patients demand immediate attention for pre-existing conditions they have been living with for a long time. These insurances require one annual visit to get medication for the rest of the year renewed. So they live 6 months abroad and still procure medication that is sent to them by a family member such as a son or daughter. The WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program also is very popular and doesn't require proof of immigration status. Thus our tax dollars are benefiting all of these people without discrimination.

    August 15, 2009 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. miles

    Only immigrants seeking citizenship in earnest should be covered by health care care reform. Our system of health care is too burdened financially to allow those not willing to seek citizenship to be covered.

    August 15, 2009 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Joe

    Every person who pays taxes should be able to buy basic Health care coverage.
    If you deny them the coverage they will go to Emergency. When we are talking to cover additional 46 million people and additional cost why they can’t pay for the coverage except if you on welfare? Why we can’t get basics coverage? Most people do not need hip replacement or scooter.

    Start with new approach,

    We base this reform on fixing system that is ruined by greed and stupidity of American culture, idiotic government old rules and regulations, patient, doctors, employers, unions, drug and Insurance Company, and some hospitals.
    Wrong

    1) Set up VERY BASIC MANDATORY (Government or co-op) Health Care Security for everyone. But if you get really sick you should be 100% covered. Only life threatening sickness, bodily injury and health prevention, child birth, basic dental should be covered.

    2) Charge everyone citizen percentage of the gross income on slide scale. Start from $100 per month for persons with income below poverty and get rid of the tax write offs and get balance of the cost from individual making over 250K.
    Mandate that all Employers have to buy this Basic package for the employees.

    3) The billings for the basic care have to be done only trough family physician only, internists and pediatricians that coordinate and reimburse all specialists and transfer all digital medical report if patient relocate or change physician. Reform all medical billing methods for family practitioners, internists and pediatricians.

    4) The basic coverage will be portable and recognize by all doctors in all states.
    The (Government or co-op) Health care Security can be set up under Federal rules and administer in each state based on state needs. Appoint Federal group of professionals to set up the minimum basic Health Care security, redesign the billing and reimbursement system rules and regulations, and oversee the all system and let them work with each state branches. Set the price for basic healthcare security; mandate this package for all employers.

    5) Let the private Insurance Company to supply the additional insurance coverage to businesses and individuals for the Items not covered under the BASIC Health Care security.

    The basic Health care should not be Casino or Wall Street. The basics are wrong it should not be Health Care Insurance I should be Health Care Security. Basic Health Care is right of everyone not luxury.

    August 15, 2009 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sherri

    Should illegals be covered by health plan? Are you kidding? 'Illegal" means you did something illegal. Which means you are a criminal. Heck no, you don't deserve health care that Americans are paying for. Go back to your own country and get health care there. Why are we even talking about this? If someone comes here illegally, they do not deserve anything. They have no right to come here and demand anything. No one MADE them come here.
    It is rediculous to even think of this. But who knows what our Congress will do?

    August 15, 2009 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JaN

    So we don't cover illegal aliens and they continue to get the most expensive health care of all: THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

    Every American pays thousands of dollars in taxes to pay for these emergency room visits every year. I am so saddened at both the selfishness and the economical ignorance of the American people.

    August 15, 2009 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Marlene C. Wiltshire

    I absolutely don't think illegal immigrants should get medical care. They should be deported and come back legal.
    When I go to the Caribbean, I have to show all my IDs. It should be no different for them.

    August 15, 2009 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Brittancus

    For decades Europe has been a beneficiary of excellent nationwide health care. It wasn't until the early 1960's that the English/British single payer system started to erode. This was caused be the introduction of legal immigration imported to drive London Buses and work on the railways. Deterioration has increased since the inception of the European Parliament dictates of the free flow of immigrants from impoverished nations of Northern Europe that has overrun the health care system. PERHAPS RATIONING NOW–BUT NOT BEFORE MASS IMMIGRATION? As of now Europe has been overwhelmed by illegal aliens, making entitlements even worse. When I lived in England their was no co-pays, deductions or premiums, just insurance stamps that the employer and employee paid. I received 3 surgeries with no further cost to me. There was no anguish about debt collectors calling or ending up in front of a bankruptcy judge.

    As a child and a young man I choose my doctor and received eye and dentistry visits free of charges. I NEVER HAD TO WAIT FOR A SURGERY, AS THE SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBY TRIES TO IMPLY? One should remember that there a large majority of nefarious special interest groups, who enjoy the status quo and will fight with propaganda and lies against their profiteering. Another place where I lived was Australia, where the health care system is equally as great as England. One year I was employed by Australian Main Roads as a junior surveyor and stepped into a fire ants nest, ending up in hospital. Once again my cost was–ZERO–because I paid into the system. There is something very calming, without the worry of billing statements pouring through the mailbox demanding money and threatening you with an attorney.

    August 15, 2009 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Leslie Jack

    President Obama should press ahead with his health care initiatives instead of being a perfectly nice person to get agreement from everyone. He has the power, he campaigned on delivering this service and now he should get on with it. He is a nice person as indicated by reaching out to the other side already but trying to get everyone onside is becoming a sign of weakness. Many of his political enemies do not want health care because likely they are satisfied with the status quo. President Obama likely joined government to help others and just because others may not have his ideals is no reason to slacken off from his promises; let his enemies accuse him of ambition, communism, socialism or whatever else. He has denounced these accusations and anyone who is listening to him can see they have no bases in fact. Get a plan out there and if the democratic party has to get the cudos for this service so be it; the republicans had their chances to do the same but didn't have the interest to do so. In the meantime while the politicians daddle their citizens do without a basic need. A smooth-running Government fills the need, not wants, that no other sector of society fills to the best of their finances allow.

    Although Democracy has a lot of virtue in the abstract there are many improvements that can be made in its application. One for me is that there is not of it practiced. One big way this can be overcome, and this is a NEW IDEA that will take some time to disseminate, is to allow all civil servant employees, since they are all paid from the public purse, to elect their managers and supervisors at all levels of the bureaucracy. Then, I suggest, there will be no more insolvable problems in our Democracies, which now appear to be present in Public Education, the Post Office, and now used as an excuse for not having Public Health Care. President Obama even made an oblique reference to the problems in the Post Office during his town hall meeting in Portsmouth, North Hampshire the past week.

    An Elected Bureaucracy would have to compete for their jobs whenever there is a general election in the level of government that pays their salaries. This would provide the competition that is necessary between the private and public sectors. This whole idea could be applied to the present complaint in the proposed Public Health Care Delivery along with the money that would be provided to it. Everything can be accomplished with adequate money and thinking people and something can be accomplished with some money and thinking people.

    In the present health care debate why can't the U. S. government come out with their own health care plan for the uninsured or underinsured; they could do this in the following manner using the duplications and wasted money that is presently in the Health Care Delivery System? Just to prove to the doubters out there that they can deliver this in an fiscally responsible manner they even could use less resources than private health users, as much as say 25%. For example, if 1/6 or 16% of U.S citizens have no or inadequate health care or benefits then put 16% of the total health care delivery program into the government health care plan; and just to show that it will not exceed that part of the budget even take a further decrease from that absolute 16% that logically could go towards the government plan. That is, take up to a further 5% to 25% from this amount which would then only leave 0.25 x 16%; this would bring the total public commitment down to as low as 12% of the present health care delivery budget and use only that amount for the government health care budget.

    With a democratically-elected Civil Service along with a reduced Public Budget that logically could be argued to be available for it, I think those presently in the Private Health Care System would clamour to join the Public System. I suggest that likely the empathic care from such a publically funded Health Delivery System would provide just as good care as the more expensive private plan. Over the ensuing years these annual hundreds of billions of public dollars could be used to build a wide ranging public system which over time could completely care for persons in the public plan. It’s the government’s money to do as the politicians wish with it and with all the managers running this public system being elected by their employees, in the system the least waste possible would occur, with the public funds being protected as well, or even better, than those at the highest levels of present government.

    If you wish to see the argument above extended and perhaps clarified you may do so by going to http:/way.to/Education. Thanks, Leslie

    August 15, 2009 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. H Gale

    There are so many questions that are inherently irrelevant. Regardless of what the Bill says, of-course illegal immigrants will be covered. We do not have a foolproof way to verify legality, most illegal immigrants are not covered in any other way, they will find a way to access the government administered healthcare system.

    August 15, 2009 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Denise

    If I wanted a national health care plan, I'd be living in Canada, not the USA!

    Illegal aliens need to be sent home!

    Selling off that fleet of 24 luxury jet liners that Congress and this Adm. has would help provide care to a lot more U.S. citizens under govt. run medicare and govt. run medicaid.

    I don't agree with using 'comparative effectiveness research' that was HIDDEN in the FEB '09 ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL as part of our health plan!

    The govt. health advisors, whomever they will be, can refuse medical treatment under this 'research' equation, and therefore, there will be more money for somebody else. Is that how part of the national plan will be paid?

    And why is President Obama, his Adm, and Congress say this doesn't exist? Oh, yeah, someone called it a 'death panel'.

    President Obama and his Adm. knew what former Gov. Palin was referring to, and they chose to make fun of this important fact!

    And shame on CNN for not bringing this to everyone's attention like it should have!

    I helped President Obama get elected this time, but I won't help again!

    President Obama says that the medical insurance industry makes billions of dollars...so does the sports industry, film industry, oil industry...Does he want control over these, too!

    How dare the Senate vote to use our Social Security to benefit the illegal aliens! If they want to help the illegal aliens, they can use their OWN RETIREMENT MONEY!

    August 15, 2009 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LINDA

      Hi I live in Canada. Let me tell you two things. 1 If you do not have a health card then you do not get any MEDICAL you are sent on your merry little way. 2 if you do not have proof that you are a Canadian then your children do not get a free education lol. When these people try to put there children into our schools and not the right ID then the police are call the children are removed from the schools and sent back to where they came from. Welcome to Canada

      July 25, 2010 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
  28. Parrotheadnh

    You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to think Illegal Immigrants will not continue to be granted FREE health insurance with whatever health care reform happens; assuming any reform at all happens. Here's a "change we can believe in" thought: Grant the Illegal Immigrants health insurance, but bill the American companies Illegally employing and exploiting the Illegal Immigrants for the full amount of the insurance, single and family plan. Oh no, wait. That won't work! To do that would mean the Illegal immigrant employing companies would have less money to pay off their elected local, state and congressional representatives to look the other way. Politicians, like anyone else, resent pay cuts. Such a change in the status quo could cause a decrease in politician performance. I know, I know, it's hard to believe politicians could possibly perform at a lower level than they presently perform at. But, several well respected university studies have shown through extensive and scientific analysis that there is a direct correlation between the $ value of payoffs and politician performance. The greater the $ value of payoffs, the higher level of performance of politicians (in favor of those providing the payoffs, of course). Lesser $ value of payoffs results in lesser politician performance. As for the idea of billing the companies that are Illegally employing the Illegal immigrants, I sincerely apologize, I don't know what came over me. That's not the way the best government money can buy functions. I should know that. And so should you

    August 15, 2009 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Phil Parker

    Even the remotest attempt to have health coverage for illegal immigrants will surely kill any attempt to reform health coverage for the bulk of those that are un-insured citizens of this country.

    August 15, 2009 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Carolyn Landingham

    If they are not in this country legally they, should not receive any benefits. Our health care system is unjust, people from other countries come here, have babies, and we just watch their free ride.

    My son died August 8, 2009. He fought a brave fight against chronic pain. He was on Medicaid. He should have received the surgery he needed instead of the massive doses of pain medication he was receiving. The shots in his neck, thoracic area, and lumbar that sent his blood sugar on a roller coaster ride was just a failed effort to avoid surgery.

    He was fighting to get his disability, but many doctors wish to avoid
    becoming involved. He was disabled and every day of his life for the last 5 years was racked with excruciating pain while raising a special needs adopted child. I could not believe the way he was treated by some health care professionals.

    My son is gone, but we have a chance to save this country's health care system. Don't accept this bill. It should be very simple, to just set out the method of protecting Americans health. It doesn't take thousands of pages for a concise health care plan to be written.

    As a matter of fact, until we have jobs with a livable wage, decent housing, and health care coverage for every American citizen, stop allowing entry to this country from any nationality. Let's take care of us first.

    Carolyn Landingham
    a hurt mom in AR.

    August 15, 2009 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tim Ohio

    To me this issue is merely a distractor to the real issue and that is the need for a Health Care Program that will assist the uninsured. I view the coverage for "illegal immigrants" as a protest or Talking Points that is being used by the companies that do not want Health Care Reform because it would affect their Income. Everyone should ask or seek the motivation of false or misleading information.

    At the same time our government should enforce rules regarding "illegal immigrants" as they can create a drain on our economy in more ways than Health Care.

    August 16, 2009 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mabel

    ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    What part of ILLEGAL do you folks not understand. You are either LEGAL or ILLEGAL. Illegals MUST NOT be granted rights and/or priviliges that are reserved and afforded to legals. The dictionary at Law.com defines LEGAL as: according to law, not in violation of law or anything related to the law. The same dictionary defines ILLEGAL as: in violation of statute, regulation or ordinance, which may be criminal or merely not in conformity. The same dictionary defines ILLEGA IMMIGRANT as: an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. And finally, that same dictionary defines ALIEN as: a person who is not a citizen of the country. 2) in the United States any person born in another country to parents who are not American and who has not become a naturalized citizen. There are resident aliens officially permitted to live in the country and illegal aliens who have sneaked into the country or stayed beyond the time allowed on a visa.

    So, again, Illegals are just that, ILLEGAL and therefore are not subject to health care the same as are legals.

    However, If I follow the logic of some out there, if someone were to break into their homes and when they walk in from work that someone is sitting at their table eating their food, all the while taking the money out of their cookie jar and putting it into pockets, then BASED OFF THEIR DESIRE TO GIVE HEALTH CARE TO ILLEGALS, they should just smile at that person and allow that person to continue unabated, letting them finish their meal, letting them steal their moneys, and then let them walk out of their houses to be on their merry way? I am not too sure that scenario would play out that way, or at least I would hope it would not. Those folks, like you and I, would call the police, telling them someone had broken into their house and was stealing them blind. I would like to think that the last option is a NO BRAINER on their part, call the authorities, and report that person, because that person is in their homes illegally. That is not too hard to see, right?

    So what is so hard about seeing ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION/ILLEGAL ALIENS for what they are, ILLEGALs. If they are getting use of services that WE THE TAX PAYERS pay for, then they are stealing OUR MONEYS IN THE SAME WAY AS THE THIEF WHO, in the scenario above, BROKE INTO THE HOME AND STOLE THE MONEY.

    August 16, 2009 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Karen D

    This is the first I have heard of the house voting down an admendment to require proof of citizenship... This opens the door for abuse. I think despite the wishes of the Hispanic caucus most Americans are feed up with illegals and the associateded public cost of caring for them.
    What does this teach children – breaking the law is sometimes ok and you can be rewarded for it?

    August 16, 2009 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Interested Citizen

    It is not right for tax payers to have to pay for illegal citizens. If you want to be insured health care then you become a legal citizen first.

    August 16, 2009 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Lauren R. Wheeling, WV

    I think it's kind of a non-issue in a way. Anyone who goes to an ER would still get treatment, right?

    August 16, 2009 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. jvilla

    what obamas plan will do is cause an influx of illegal aliens from all south america and mexico. the vacation visas to disneyland will increase. if we are giving free health plans to illegals they are going to rush to get on the plan, every parent from mexico with a sick child will want to put that child on a plan,anything thats free will be a lure for illegals. remember they will be on the plan for ever. or will they be taken out of the plan when they become adults. they already have access to programs here, they know that a childrens hospital will not turn them away. illegal children will start having achor babies cause now the pregnancy will be covered under obamas plan , they know that if they have an anchor baby the immigration judge is not likely to deport a 14 year old with a child this is what is happening right now. illegal children having anchor babies because it gives the families access to public housing, medicaid, food stamps, wic, and the illegal parents encourage their children to have anchors to ensure their stay in the usa. this obama health plan is an amnesty in disguise to illegal aliens. it will give obama a chance to be elected for another term. but most americans are to naive and dont see the picture but this is what is coming next on obamas plan. if you think the schools are crowded now wait till obamas plan passes.

    August 16, 2009 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. kimimaro

    Let's not compare apples to oranges! We have what equates to your population residing illegally within the United States. You cannot comprehend what that entails with amount of rescources expended without any reciprocation. Quite frankly unless you are American you should refrain from censuring our reluctance to grasp at a health care system that although works for you and your system of government is not exactly compatable with our lack of infrastructure as it pertains to vetting the veracity of the population that would be entitled to it! So long as the United States refuses to take a stand against illegal immigration and implement the infrastructure necessary to enforce the travesty that is the lobby controlled beaurocracy that refuses to uphold the integrity of the law that has been established!!!!

    August 16, 2009 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sean

    Are you kidding? We already pay for illegal immigrants to get free health care. When you go to the emergency room, there is no ID check to get treated. Hospitals treat everyone, rich or poor, legal or illegal. When an illegal immigrant goes to the emergency room and doesn't pay for services, the hospital must absorb the cost. This cost is then passed onto the rest of us in the form of higher prices. The same goes for legal citizens who cannot pay. This new health care plan is not going to fatten our wallets. Instead of paying the hospitals and insurance companies, the money we're "saving" will just end up going to higher taxes.

    August 17, 2009 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Mary Eyer

    I want to thank CNN and Dr Gupta for bringing a high profile note of sanity and facts into the health care discussion. I am so concerned that many people who have no coverage will be harmed simply because opponents who stand to lose profit margins or political credits are spreading fear and lies. Thanks for having the stones to talk common sense.

    I'm a regular watcher of the morning show on Headline News.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. S. McCarthy

    If a person can make the journey to American, then they should make the journey to follow the laws to becoming a citizen.
    If they cannot abide by the laws of our United States, then they should NOT have the right to free medical care.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. gary whaley

    I can not imagine our country giving health care to everyone in the world, thats what we are doing if we give it to everyone who crosses the border. Try going to Iran and cross their border and see what kind of health care you receive.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Diane Takayama

    Absolutely NOT! Living in California, and being personal friends with a group of ER docs at our local hospital, I have seen and known of the stories that are crippling our first line of help. Unfortunately, these highly skilled and trained doctors are having to treat very minor health conditions that are over crowding the ER rooms because churches and other civic groups have educated illegal migrants to go there for help. They cannot be turned away. So, while the communities of citizens may have to wait for hours and hours to get treatment it is a double slap in the face for the fact they also have to pay for the treatment of these people by way of higher taxes and lower standards of care.
    Regards,
    D. Takayama

    August 17, 2009 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Tim H

    DR Gupta,
    I am a dentist who was forced to retire because of cancer. For obvious reasons I am paying very close attention to the health care debate. One area that has not been prominently mentioned in the debate is patient education so that they may ask their DR the proper questions and follow their treatment in an active manner. I wish to congratulate you on your endeavors in this area. And thank you. An integral part of the health care solution is patient education and DRs having to answer informed patient's questions

    Tim H

    August 17, 2009 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. edward fannon

    Why not provide the health coverage afforded our illegal immigrants?

    If an illegal immigrant lives close to a city or country hospital, he/she receives free healthcare via Medicaid. Here’s an example.

    In Nassau County (N.Y.), they have social workers on duty at the Nassau County Medical Center (in East Meadow, N.Y.) 24/7 to place illegal immigrants on the Medicaid system. Prescription medication is also free or at a nominal cost ($2 to $5 per prescription). Free transportation (via taxi cabs) is also part of the package.

    August 17, 2009 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. sarah

    This is a no brainer ...Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Margaret

    Illegal – NO way! Can I go to another country and use their health care programs?

    August 17, 2009 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Bonnie

    Should illegal immigrants be given subsidized healthcare? Are you nuts? What about illegal is not clear? If you play by the rules you should be allowed to apply for health care. If you don't, why on earth should I reward you with y hard earned tax dollars for your failure to respect our sovereignty?

    August 17, 2009 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ronvan

    For Bonnie's comment, I have to agree. This is not only illegal, by the laws written, but hyprocital! Does double standards apply? How do many of you explain to your children, and possibly our future leaders, why they don't get reduced lunch prices in school, when illegals could.
    How do you explain to them that they cannot see a doctor when illegals, and I am talking, non U.S. citizens, can get medical care?
    This is just simple hyprocacy.

    August 18, 2009 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Dennis from Sudbury Canada

    I live in Northern Ontario, Canada. I'm 50 years of age and beginning to require more medical attention. Gout, kidney stones, shingles etc. I have had no trouble seeing my G.P. True, specialist may be booked three months ahead and one might have to wait for certain proceedures but everyone has equal access. If your condition is serious you are attended by specialists immediately. We have after hour clinics and emergency rooms available 24 / 7. My group plan covers a private room, all of my prescriptions, glasses once every two years, chiropractics etc, etc and costs me $115.00 a month. Sure we complain if we have to wait and I'm certain every system has its horor stories but at 10% of GDP for universal coverage our system is great. And it has provisions to cover illegal aliens Americans included.

    August 19, 2009 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Patricia Malec

    I do not think illigal immigrents should be covered under the reformed health care plan. I'm more than willing to have taxes applied to the new health care for the citizens of the US. I'm hoping I will qualify. But I do not want to pay for illigal immigrents out of my taxes.

    August 19, 2009 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.