L.A. program offers healthcare for 75,000 give or take illegal restaurant workers.
As members of Congress get an earful from their constituents on the proposed health care overhaul, one topic is becoming front and center: immigration. How the legislation addresses both legal and illegal immigration will have a significant effect on public support, but as of this writing, the 1,000-page health care bill only includes a few, ambiguous and entirely inadequate clauses on immigration.
Supporters of the bill claim that it would not benefit illegal aliens, something emphasized just yesterday by President Obama. But the bill gives no direction on how administrators should determine whether an individual is a qualified recipient or an unqualified illegal alien. In fact, lawmakers have blocked language specifically designed to ensure illegal aliens could not access the proposed health care system.
Unless changes are made, some percentage of illegal aliens will likely receive taxpayer-subsidized benefits under the proposed health care legislation.
As one out of every three uninsured persons in the United States is an immigrant (legal or illegal) or the U.S.-born child of an immigrant, the issue must be addressed sooner rather than later.
No enforcement mechanism to prevent illegal aliens from benefitting.
A restaurant workers’ group and a Los Angeles community clinic have launched a unique cooperative to provide health coverage to a group of people excluded from federal healthcare reform — illegal immigrants.
The pilot program, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, offers preventive and primary care to low-wage, uninsured workers in the restaurant industry. Legal immigrants and other restaurant workers who don’t meet the criteria or cannot afford coverage under the healthcare law are also eligible.
About 75,000 restaurant workers in Los Angeles don’t have access to insurance because of their immigration status, Mariana Huerta of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles, or ROC-LA, said Wednesday.
Under the program, called ROC-MD, uninsured workers pay $25 a month so they can go to one of several clinics run by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center for physicals, basic dental care and treatment for common illnesses. The program started last fall, but organizers formally announced it Wednesday and are now recruiting more participants.
The coverage doesn’t replace traditional health insurance but helps ensure that workers have a place to go for preventive care so they don’t end up in emergency rooms, said Joseph Villela, senior policy advocate with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. MORE
Health reform legislation in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will give illegal aliens access to taxpayer-funded health care well beyond emergency medical treatment. (That is already a mandate that can put hospitals and other providers on the hook for much more than addressing an individual’s actual emergency.)
The Senate’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, substituted into HR 3590, and the House-passed Affordable Health Care for America Act, HR 3962, each contain provisions that purport to bar illegal aliens from benefiting from certain health programs. But neither bill would satisfactorily or effectively keep unlawful U.S. residents from obtaining new health benefits — thus forcing American taxpayers to subsidize health care for illegal aliens and certain unscrupulous employers.
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