As Senate preps for healthcare debate, petition gets underway to include undocumented immigrants

As Senate preps for healthcare debate, petition gets underway to include undocumented immigrants

LatinaLista — Anyone who expects a bipartisan compromise to be reached on the healthcare bill lives in La La Land. The point was explicitly brought home in a morning interview on the Today show between Sen. Dick Schumer and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

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The back-and-forth, while civil, clearly showed that the line in the sand has been drawn when it comes to the healthcare debate. Yet, Sen. Schumer assured Today's host Matt Lauer that "(passage) will get done. If we have to do it with just 60 Democratic votes we will come together and do it..."

Unfortunately, that may not be as done a deal among the Democrats as Sen. Schumer thinks.

Unlike, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who was convinced to vote to allow debate on the healthcare bill with a $300-million "gift" for Louisiana's medicaid program, members of the Hispanic Caucus' asking price will be too high for their fellow senators to stomach -- allowing undocumented immigrants to purchase health coverage from an exchange with their own money.

If Hispanic Caucus members stick to their guns and don't vote for the final version of the healthcare bill, if it continues to exclude undocumented immigrants in this fashion, then it's safe to say that the Republicans will have won -- not because they are right but because it's the one stipulation that truly has bipartisan agreement and which is diametrically opposed to the values of Latino leaders in Congress.

It's pretty clear that the majority of the Senate will not allow undocumented immigrants as part of the final healthcare bill unless they hear from their constituents that it's the right thing to do.



To that end, a new online petition may force some Senators to re-evaluate their stand on the issue.

At, the petition titled "Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Purchase Health Care" has been started by Efrén Paredes, Jr.

Paredes includes in the petition the quote:

This is a degrading, inhumane and unacceptable provision that must not be allowed to be included in the final health care bill. As stated by Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association, "Diseases know no boundaries. The best idea would be to have everyone have health care."

Paredes goes on to say:

It is a human right to allow people to have health care. Denying anyone the opportunity to purchase health care with their own money is deplorable and shameful. Please join us in signing this petition and sending a strong message to members of Congress and President Obama that this is not acceptable.

The Latino community and other citizens of conscience must stand together to oppose any provision that disallows another human being from paying for health care with their own money.

The final question to be asked is what is gained by excluding undocumented immigrants from using their own money to pay for health insurance?

Is the point to criminalize them further?

Is the point to drive them out of the country sick and desperate?

Is the point to treat them like animals and show the superiority of what is "white America"?

Is the point to validate the impression most of Latin America has of the United States as an oppressor and bully?

Does the average American really know what the point is -- and would they agree if they knew?


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