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Healthcare Reform And The Immigration Debate: Left of Center View

Healthcare and immigration are two issues that are often discussed together when really the focus should be on each individual issue. Now that the Republicans are out of office, the nation is finally coming back around to having a real discussion of providing healthcare benefits to all citizens. Well, unless you count the Republican planted hecklers at the discussions who just shout over people so nobody can actually have a reasonable discussion. But aside from the political chicanery there is a renewed discussion going on again and itís long overdue. If you think that the system is just fine the way it is, you either have a lot of disposable income or just haven't had to use it recently.

A couple of months back I had reason to experience the process first hand. After being attacked by a mugger I spent less than six hours in a "not for profit" hospital emergency room and was released. In that brief period of time I racked up almost $50,000 in medical expenses. That's more than most folks make in a year, myself included, and it was charged for services provided over the course of less than an average work day.

I have medical insurance. However, with the difference between what they approve and what the provider bills, deductibles and denials, coupled with the time and effort expended to get any claim processed, there are still substantial costs incurred. I still don't know how much it will all cost as the bills are still coming in. In fact I'm already getting calls from collection agencies threatening to garnish this or freeze that, and this is for invoices I haven't even received yet. I feel like I'm getting mugged a second time by the medical industry thatís supposed to be there to help people.

So if I have insurance, good credit, a job and pay my bills on time and still get treated like a transient child molester with open sores, I can only imagine what it would be like for someone recently laid off or working but with no benefits. $50,000 for six hours! If I had been admitted overnight it would have easily been twice that. That's almost a year's tuition at an Ivy League school. And it's not like you are in a position to haggle about the price - "how much for just eight stitches? I don't need the $74 Advil, what do you have in a generic?"

When asked why the costs are so outrageous, the hospital's stock answer is that they have to charge such high prices to cover the costs for those they are obligated to help, but who can't afford to pay for their own care. In other words we basically already have socialized medicine here. It's just run Mafia style. The current system is only advantageous to the very wealthy and the poor. Once again the middle class is screwed. What they donít tell you is that the care that they provide for indigents and low income families is often subsidized by local, state and federal funds and that if they didnít sign exclusive deals with drug companies and medical supply companies competition based on pricing would actually lower the cost of providing care to the less fortunate.

What is rather interesting though is that most of the opponents of healthcare reform are the same people who fight to keep cheap labor available with guest worker programs and relaxed labor regulations. They seem to have some consistency issues. The cheap labor is partly to blame for the high cost of healthcare according to them. The people who canít afford health insurance who need the system to support them are the very same people that opponents of healthcare reform want to have improving their profit margins.

I guess in their perfect healthcare/immigration reform solution, undocumented workers would not get any healthcare, guest workers would get only enough to keep them alive and everyone else would get what they can afford. Survival of the fittest rules the day. Darwinism meets healthcare. Wait, arenít these the same people who donít believe in Darwin and evolution?


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Next week's subject: Is Illegal Immigration Making A Bad Economy Worse?

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Last Week's View from the Left:
Stimulus, Trade, Immigration Reform, Will Anything Fix The American Economy?

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Healthcare Reform And The Immigration Debate: Right of Center View

Some might think that these two subjects have nothing to do with one another but they unfortunately share a common problem. The problem is that there are some within our nation who feel that government can solve any problem and that if we only wish hard enough and sing ďKumbayaĒ loud enough we can make everyone the same. In reality that is a pipe dream and does more harm than good when included in discussions of how to solve real problems.

Conservatives are often painted as people who are uncaring, unfeeling, power-hungry and greedy. That is not the case. Conservatives see that there needs to be a balance between being nice and being responsible. We would love it if everyone could live a perfect life and never have reason to want or need but we live in the real world where there are limited resources and sometimes there are winners and losers. Sometimes the winners are victorious as a circumstance of their birth. That is not evil. Thatís life. We all experience good and bad in life and yes sometimes it comes down to luck but itís not governmentís job to be artificial luck for the unfortunate.

When we start talking about either healthcare or immigration reform we need to recognize that we cannot solve everyoneís problems through spending taxpayer money. That needs to be the very first thought. Knowing that we canít solve all the problems with government spending, we can address the issues with more clarity. We can work on the things that can be done without spending piles of money and make the system work better instead of just throwing money at the problem. Chances are that if you take a hard look at the laws and regulations already on the books and how they are enforced and implemented you will find solutions that have been available all along.

Everyone agrees that prescription drugs can be overly expensive. To address that issue Congress should look at the driving forces of unnecessary costs related to prescription drugs and take steps to pass legislation that will help to curb those costs for manufacturers so they can pass the savings on to consumers. That alone could make healthcare more accessible for millions of Americans. Similarly Congress can look at the driving forces behind the high cost of healthcare overall and address the issues responsibly. None of this requires the government to take over healthcare.

On a similar note, immigration reform can come without spending a ton of money on programs for illegal immigrants or letting scofflaws simply get away with thumbing their noses at American law. If we began with enforcing existing laws we could curb illegal immigration greatly. With modest additional regulation and some foresight Congress could find a way for those who want to join our society as responsible individuals to have a way to do that without rewarding those who felt the laws shouldnít apply to them. We donít need to spend billions of dollars on programs to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants or build fences to keep them out that donít work. If we do spend money we need to make sure we get some return on it.

Healthcare reform and immigration reform need to be addressed with the same mindset. There are problems that need to be addressed but none of them will be solved by pouring money into programs that have clearly not worked. Government is meant to facilitate solutions not write blank checks. Congress has a bad habit of thinking that money will fix everything. Spending without vision will only exacerbate the problems related to healthcare and illegal immigration. First we need to look at the causes of the problems and then we need to address them. Throwing money at problems has never been a good long term fix for anything. Welfare may feed the poor but it gives them no incentives to achieve, keeping them perpetually poor. Simply pouring money into failed systems will not fix them. If we want real reform and real solutions weíll stop trying to buy our way out of our problems and start finding ways to make the system we have actually work better.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Is Illegal Immigration Making A Bad Economy Worse?

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Right:
Stimulus, Trade, Immigration Reform, Will Anything Fix The American Economy?

Reform America Articles Archive

A Legal Immigrantís Perspective

If you are not a Native American, you are an immigrant, so am I. I came legally to this country at the age of five with my parents who worked hard, paid taxes (even Jesus paid taxes), lived by the rules of this great nation and never took or accepted a penny from the government. We came seeking FREEDOM from a communist country. It was months before we were able to enter the US legally. I remember us getting medical exams, shots (small pox), background check, references, and going through numerous interviews once we arrived. I also remembered people coming to the US from all over the world who waited years since it was based on "Quotas". Read more...

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally ďThe RaceĒ in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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