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Illegal Immigrant Health Insurance | Can Undocumented Aliens Get Healthcare Coverage?

Thomas Wright Published: July 24, 2019 Updated: July 24, 2019

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According to a study by the Pew Research center, it is estimated that there were roughly 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants living in The United States in 2017 - a number that continues to grow. This has sparked debate in relation to health care - should undocumented aliens get healthcare coverage?

California was the first state to pass a resolution for illegal immigrants - covering any undocumented chidlren under the age of 19 through its Medicaid program. New York City is also looking to provide healthcare to all of its residents, regardless of their citizenship status. The cost burden on taxpayers to fund these efforts has left many unsure of their position on these initiatives.

What is Going on With Illegal Immigrant Health Insurance?

During the 2016 presidential elections, all 19 of the democratic candidates were in support of providing illegal immigrants health insurance because of the popular idea that our country’s economy will be healthy if more people are physically healthy. It is seen as a humane step towards a better future for America as a whole. A New York Times survey showed that all 19 candidates answered “yes” to a question regarding offering illegal immigrants health insurance.

However, the Trump administration had a different opinion, stating that “All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare”. The current federal government will likely not make any national decisions or policies for illegal immigrant health insurance, but states can put their own solutions in place.

Where Can Undocumented Aliens Get Healthcare Coverage?

The World Health Organization has set a goal for the 170 countries in the United Nations to have universal health coverage by 2030. However, this goal does not specify a country’s stance regarding health care coverage for undocumented aliens. On a national level, there is only one country that offers universal health care to all immigrants - Thailand. Since August, 2013 any illegal immigrant has access to their universal health care, according to NPR.

So, Can Undocumented Aliens Get Coverage in The United States?

In California, Illegal immigrant health insurance covers primary care and at least prescription drugs through a federally funded health care center that is spread out. These care centers do not care about a person’s ability to pay or their immigration status. It is estimated that these centers serve around 27 million people but there is no documentation of how many are immigrants. Other than that if an undocumented immigrant comes into any hospital for an emergency, they are treated.

How Much It’s Going To Cost Taxpayers

Health care is not cheap and countries thrive through good health care. There is an estimate of over 10.5 million undocumented residents and around 6 million do not have healthcare of any sort.

There is no cost estimate for now but it is safe to say that it will be an expensive journey. Those in favor of the debate believe that eventually the payoff will be good for the country and help America thrive.

Where is the Stance of Current Citizens?

Many US citizens are against the idea of offering health insurance to illegal immigrants to check these statistics. A Rasmussen Reports’ national telephone and online survey have researched and the results show that only 31% of the country is in favor of this notion while the rest of the 55% is opposed to the idea and 13% are not sure of their answer.

The Debate on Both Sides

The Health care debate is between democrats and republicans. One side argues in favor of illegal immigrant health insurance and the other side negates it. Here are some of the popular points used in favor and against the argument.

Arguments in Favor

  • Humane action
  • Immigrants are the foundation of America’s success
  • Will keep the population safe from infectious diseases and illness
  • Will ensure children receive vaccinations

Arguments Against

  • Financial burden on an already strained economy
  • Take care of citizens first
  • Unfair for those paying for private healthcare
  • Limited medical resources

Where the Current Administration Stands

Since the beginning of his candidacy, President Trump has long been on the opposing side of undocumented citizens and believes that they are using up America’s already limited resources. He has tweeted against giving free health care or any kind of health care to undocumented aliens because he believes that America’s citizens come first. Medicaid, which offers federally and state-funded medical care to citizens categorized as low-income, spent an estimated $557 billion in 2017. To expand this service to provide illegal immigrants with health insurance could add an immense burden on American taxpayers.