Cue the outrage.
In a proclamation issued Friday, President Donald Trump’s White House announced it would suspend entry into the country for migrants who “will financially burden the United States healthcare system” and are seeking a visa, according to The Hill.
“Healthcare providers and taxpayers bear substantial costs in paying for medical expenses incurred by people who lack health insurance or the ability to pay for their healthcare,” the proclamation read.
“Hospitals and other providers often administer care to the uninsured without any hope of receiving reimbursement from them. The costs associated with this care are passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services.”
The numbers from the White House were rather daunting. Hospitals have accumulated uncompensated care costs of over $35 billion each year during the past decade — “approximately $7 million on average for each hospital in the United States,” as the proclamation pointed out.
“Beyond uncompensated care costs, the uninsured strain Federal and State government budgets through their reliance on publicly funded programs, which ultimately are financed by taxpayers,” the document noted.
“The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants who come lawfully in search of brighter futures,” it said.
“We must continue that tradition while also addressing the challenges facing our healthcare system, including protecting both it and the American taxpayer from the burdens of uncompensated care,” the proclamation added.
“Continuing to allow entry into the United States of certain immigrants who lack health insurance or the demonstrated ability to pay for their healthcare would be detrimental to these interests.”
The change will take effect on Nov. 3. It won’t affect refugees or immigrants granted asylum.
This isn’t the first move Trump has made to cut down on immigration by individuals who could potentially be a financial burden on taxpayers.
Over the summer, the administration announced it was changing the “public charge” regulation to make it more difficult for migrants to obtain either a green card or temporary visa if they had used public assistance.
That regulation is still working its way through the courts.
Needless to say, the newest regulation inspired plenty of outrage.
“The Trump administration today launched two more shameless attacks on low-income people and immigrants, by proposing dramatic cuts to life-saving food stamps and seeking to prevent immigrants lacking access to health insurance — of which the administration works constantly to deprive them — from entering the country on immigrant visas,” Javier Valdés, co-director of the pro-immigrant group Make the Road New York, said in a statement, according to CBS News.
This is arrant nonsense. The United States isn’t obligated to allow anyone in — although we are a nation of immigrants and can benefit from immigration.
As with everything, the question is how we balance benefits with costs. If a migrant poses a high risk of leaving our health care system with uncompensated care costs, the United States has a good case to deny them a visa.
“While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States Government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their healthcare costs,” the proclamation said.
“Notably, data show that lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance. Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.”
That’s a commonsense change conservatives and a lot of independents will get behind — regardless of the outrage.
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