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Illegal immigrants likely covered under Democrats' healthcare reform.

A recent study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform determined that healthcare reform would not have any real barriers against illegal immigrants enrolling in the taxpayer-funded public option, and that there would be no verification system to stop illegals from receiving credits to purchase private plans.

The Center for Immigration Studies has put the number of illegal immigrants who do not have health insurance at 7.25 million. More than half of these--about four million--are probably employed, said Steven Camarota, a research director with the center. Camarota believes that it could cost anywhere from $8 billion to $12 billion annually to provide these illegal immigrants with insurance coverage, but there are many variables in the equation.

For one thing, Camarota's estimate doesn't include covering children. It also assumes all four million had no benefits from their employers to begin with, which doesn't take into account that some would have already received emergency-room treatment at the public's expense. Some of the four million would likely be too afraid of being caught to enroll in an insurance plan, and some would actually be paying taxes, so they wouldn't be freeloading.

Nonetheless, Camarota maintains that, at the very least, the healthcare plans now being proposed on Capitol Hill would almost certainly make things worse by allowing employers to force taxpayers to foot the bill for their illegal employees' healthcare. "Illegal immigration kind of looms as the 800-pound gorilla," Camarota said. "The impact is really big." This is because the reform proposals fail to admit there is a problem. "The legislation says illegal immigrants are not supposed to get this plan, but it also guts any of the mechanisms that would leave them out--typical Washington kind of thing."

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It is worth pointing out that while illegal immigrants are not supposed to be covered by President Barack Obama's reform proposals, he always includes them when stating how many millions of "Americans" are uninsured.

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Title Annotation:Inside Track
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 31, 2009
Words:321
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