No Medicare for All for illegals

According to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), “As president, Bernie will: Enact Medicare for All, which will address racial and other disparities in health care and provide comprehensive care to everyone in America, regardless of immigration status.” Strangely, politicians have a proclivity for speaking in the third person.

Even more strangely, believe it or not, most Democrats running for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination (including Bernie, obviously) support Medicare for All, even for illegal, “undocumented” immigrants.

Although it is impossible to know the exact number of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States, estimates range from about 10 million to upwards of 12 million. To put this in better context, in October 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement apprehended 45,020 illegal border crossers at the Southwest border. In Fiscal Year 2019, the total number of illegal border crossers apprehended was 977,509. Of course, these numbers do not include the unknown number of immigrants who evaded apprehension and simply entered the United States illegally.

Aside from the fact that Medicare for All would cost trillions and upend the entire U.S. health care system (more on this later), one fundamental question must be asked: Is it a good idea, let alone fair, to offer “free” health care to lawbreakers who are not U.S. citizens?

In my humble opinion, the answer is a clear and resounding, “No.”

Providing Medicare for All to millions of illegal immigrants is a slap in the face to the many more millions of hardworking American citizens who struggle to pay for their own health care needs. In other words, it is fundamentally unfair to force American citizens (including and especially legal immigrants) to pay for the health care of those who willingly and knowingly disobeyed the laws of the land by “entering” this great nation under false pretenses.

Each and every year, the United States allows more immigrants to enter the country than all other nations combined. In 2017, more than one million immigrants from all over the world legally entered the United States. Yes, the United States is at the forefront (by far) when it comes to accepting immigrants. It is beyond the pale, however, for politicians to pander for votes by decreeing that “Medicare for All, as I put this together, covers everyone, regardless of immigration status,” as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently did.

Offering Medicare for All to illegal immigrants is about as unfair as me playing Lebron James in a game of one-on-one basketball. Even worse, this misguided policy would no doubt incentivize a huge number of those on the fence (literally, in some cases) to make their way into the United States via the woefully unprotected Southwest border.

Is it a wise idea to offer “free” health care to anyone who steps foot into the United States? Of course not. As it currently stands, Medicare for All is estimated to cost anywhere from $30 to $50 trillion during its first decade alone. Depending on which estimate you use, the implementation of Medicare for All would at least double the national debt in less than a decade.

American citizens are already on the hook for enough of Washington, D.C.’s reckless spending. Why in the world would we want to add one more penny to this crushing debt by providing “free” health care to illegal immigrants?

In short, providing Medicare for All to millions of illegal immigrants is immoral, impractical, and completely unaffordable.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.

According to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), “As president, Bernie will: Enact Medicare for All, which will address racial and other disparities in health care and provide comprehensive care to everyone in America, regardless of immigration status.” Strangely, politicians have a proclivity for speaking in the third person.

Even more strangely, believe it or not, most Democrats running for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination (including Bernie, obviously) support Medicare for All, even for illegal, “undocumented” immigrants.

Although it is impossible to know the exact number of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States, estimates range from about 10 million to upwards of 12 million. To put this in better context, in October 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement apprehended 45,020 illegal border crossers at the Southwest border. In Fiscal Year 2019, the total number of illegal border crossers apprehended was 977,509. Of course, these numbers do not include the unknown number of immigrants who evaded apprehension and simply entered the United States illegally.

Aside from the fact that Medicare for All would cost trillions and upend the entire U.S. health care system (more on this later), one fundamental question must be asked: Is it a good idea, let alone fair, to offer “free” health care to lawbreakers who are not U.S. citizens?

In my humble opinion, the answer is a clear and resounding, “No.”

Providing Medicare for All to millions of illegal immigrants is a slap in the face to the many more millions of hardworking American citizens who struggle to pay for their own health care needs. In other words, it is fundamentally unfair to force American citizens (including and especially legal immigrants) to pay for the health care of those who willingly and knowingly disobeyed the laws of the land by “entering” this great nation under false pretenses.

Each and every year, the United States allows more immigrants to enter the country than all other nations combined. In 2017, more than one million immigrants from all over the world legally entered the United States. Yes, the United States is at the forefront (by far) when it comes to accepting immigrants. It is beyond the pale, however, for politicians to pander for votes by decreeing that “Medicare for All, as I put this together, covers everyone, regardless of immigration status,” as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently did.

Offering Medicare for All to illegal immigrants is about as unfair as me playing Lebron James in a game of one-on-one basketball. Even worse, this misguided policy would no doubt incentivize a huge number of those on the fence (literally, in some cases) to make their way into the United States via the woefully unprotected Southwest border.

Is it a wise idea to offer “free” health care to anyone who steps foot into the United States? Of course not. As it currently stands, Medicare for All is estimated to cost anywhere from $30 to $50 trillion during its first decade alone. Depending on which estimate you use, the implementation of Medicare for All would at least double the national debt in less than a decade.

American citizens are already on the hook for enough of Washington, D.C.’s reckless spending. Why in the world would we want to add one more penny to this crushing debt by providing “free” health care to illegal immigrants?

In short, providing Medicare for All to millions of illegal immigrants is immoral, impractical, and completely unaffordable.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.