Wrong direction for California

A proposal to add a program to pay for health-insurance coverage for illegal
immigrants currently has stalled the passage of the budget and comes at a
time when we still have a porous border.

Adopting a policy to provide tax-paid health insurance for illegal
immigrants in families with up to $60,000-a-year incomes will only
encourages more people to sneak across the border. Whether it’s in the
budget proposal or separate legislation, this just sends the wrong signal.

It says that we have immigration laws but that we do not enforce them. In
fact, if you successfully bypass our laws, this Legislature has proposals
for the taxpayers to pay for your health insurance, offer you in-state
tuition for college, and allow you to cut in front of American citizens to
get scarce college financial aid.

These policies must be stopped now. Californians are compassionate people,
but we also need to adopt sound policy consistent with our immigration laws
and what health-care system we provide our residents.

The worst part of the health-care proposal is that it expands government
health insurance to illegal immigrants at a time when this Legislature has
refused to expand more affordable private health-insurance options to the
legal residents of California. The focus of this Legislature has been
singularly focused on one option for Californians–a government-run,
single-payer health care system that every Californian must use, regardless
of a person’s ability to afford private health insurance, or the potential
negative impact in quality of care and access to necessary care.

This tunnel vision completely ignores the absolute failure of these
government-run health-care programs in other countries. Canada is a prime
example of a failed health-care system. Its health-care system has had a
devastating impact on the health of Canadians. Access to physicians is a
serious problem and even cancer patients must wait for months to begin

A February 26 New York Times article quoted a local Canadian physician, Dr.
Brian Day, about Canada’s health-care system and its ban on private health
insurance, “We’ve taken the position that the law is illegal. This is a
country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which
humans can wait two to three years.”

Further, in June 2005, the Supreme Court in Canada found that a Quebec
provincial ban on private health insurance was unconstitutional when
patients were suffering and even dying on waiting lists. The court ruled,
“The prohibition on obtaining private health insurance is not constitutional
where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services.” It is also a
sad example when Canada’s provincial health ministers’ goal is to bring down
the wait time to four weeks for cancer patients to receive radiation therapy
and 26 weeks for hip replacements.

And this is the health-care solution that we should embrace?

Unfortunately, this proposal to expand taxpayer-funded health care for
illegal immigrants is merely part of the Democrats’ forced march to
government mandated health care. This must be stopped before our health care
is managed in the same fashion as the DMV, Caltrans, Medi-Cal or any other
bloated bureaucratic system.

It appears that the only winners in this new system will be those coming
illegally to California from Mexico, which has a worse health-care system
than Canada.

We simply cannot continue to refuse to expand health care choices to
Californians and at the same time make them foot the bill for new benefits
for illegal immigrants. It is simply the wrong direction for California.

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