“The relationship between illegal immigrants and our nation’s health care system is one that cannot be overlooked. In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that there were 46.6 million people without health insurance of which about 9.5 million were not United States citizens…It’s clear that a bill that is silent on eligibility means a bill that includes illegal immigrants.”
To begin with, both the House and Senate health care bills explicitly state that health care benefits will only apply to legal U.S. residents. President Obama himself has said that undocumented immigrants should not be covered under a new health care plan.
Bachmann also criticizes House Democrats for voting against what she calls “a commonsense amendment that would have ensured that illegal immigrants are not covered.” However, that same amendment would have also given private insurance providers unprecedented access to sensitive income and identity information while curtailing all of the privacy and redress responsibilities that the Social Security Act requires of government agencies.
Bachmann doesn’t point out that 9.5 million of uninsured noncitizens that she cites includes both legal and undocumented immigrants. In general, all immigrants incur less health care costs and less expensive care than native-born Americans. Health care costs for the average immigrant ($1,797 per capita) are 55% lower than health care costs for the average U.S.-born person ($3,702 per capita). Ultimately, U.S. citizens make up the majority of those who are uninsured and that’s where the debate should focus.
Bachmann has repeatedly invoked “fear-mongering right-wing rhetoric” to block health care reform.