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One Republican is enough for bipartisanship on healthcare bill

LatinaLista — Forget all the outrage over Rep. Joe Wilson’s rude yell during the President’s healthcare speech to the joint members of Congress last week. Rather than sanction him or ignore his outburst of “You lie,” the Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” (3 Democrats/3Republicans) met this morning to rehash certain points of the healthcare bill — notably, a denial of benefits to undocumented immigrants just to drive the point home to Wilson and others that undocumented immigrants are not included in any healthcare coverage.

Sen. Max Baucus, Senate Finance Committee Chairman
(Photo source: Getty Images)

Yet, Democrats are expecting Republicans to “play games” to derail or postpone the passage of any healthcare bill. On a blogger conference call this evening with members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, it was made clear that the definition of a bipartisan agreement on the healthcare bill does not entail a 50-50 split.
According to one representative, there are 59 Democrats willing to sign onto the bill and just having 1 Republican add their name means bipartisanship in their eyes.
Senate Democratic Caucus reps were not willing to speculate on who that Republican might be — some on the call were speculating Olympia Snow — but reps said that the main goal is to get 60 votes. Voicing fear that the Republicans might want to tack on a “nasty” amendment, reps were quick to explain that 60 votes are even required for an amendment.
According to officials on the call, while the White House has been in touch with the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, it’s Mr. Baucus who “holds the pen” in drafting this version of the legislation — and delivering it this week.
However, while it is appreciated that Congress is doing its best to get a healthcare bill passed, by soothing fears of paranoid Republicans who find it unAmerican to grant health coverage to undocumented immigrants, the question remains — Why not grant undocumented immigrants health coverage since they pay for it already?

When it comes to undocumented immigrants, the goal of this country has always been to make them such outcasts that they would want to leave the country. What politicians didn’t count on was these immigrants establishing roots here.
As such, our system has effectively criminalized this group of people by not allowing them to be a legal part of our economy. Though they contribute to sales and property taxes and even Social Security through their wages, there is a refusal to acknowledge the fact that a good many undocumented immigrants are willing to pay for healthcare coverage, car insurance, etc. — but we don’t let them.
As it is now, undocumented immigrants pay for their clinic visits for them and their children. It’s only when those emergencies arise in their families, like families everywhere, where a trip to the ER usually means something unexpected and catastrophic, that their fragile family budgets are hit and they find themselves at the goodwill mercy of the healthcare system.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. According to a passage on the Time magazine politics blog site:

The purpose of the exchange, and health care reform as a whole, is to decrease the number of people who avoid insurance and choose instead to get health care in hospital emergency rooms, a cost that is eventually picked up by the local, state and federal government.
By frustrating the opportunities for illegal immigrants to purchase insurance with their own money, the White House position suggests that those here illegally could continue to cost public money by using emergency rooms. In other words, by banning illegal immigrants from paying their own way on the exchange, it is possible that the taxpayer cost of health care for illegal immigrants would be higher, not lower. Though the signs from the Senate are a bit mixed, the Finance Committee is likely to adopt Obama’s no-exchange standard.

A White House stand that doesn’t make sense but ensures the peace with those Republicans who can’t see past their paranoia and envision themselves as saviors of the nation when, in essence, they’re not only costing the nation more money but contradicting the fundamental law of Christianity — “You are your brother’s keeper.”

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  • Katie
    September 14, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    This was beautiful, Marisa.

  • Woodrow
    September 15, 2009 at 7:55 am

    “However, while it is appreciated that Congress is doing its best to get a healthcare bill passed, by soothing fears of paranoid Republicans who find it unAmerican to grant health coverage to undocumented immigrants, the question remains — Why not grant undocumented immigrants health coverage since they pay for it already?”
    Pay for it already? How do they pay for health insurance, much less health care. Most Mexican illegal aliens (the majority of IAs) live below the poverty level. Millions use our hospital emergency rooms and leave unpaid bills behind. And who picks up those bills? The citizens who have to pay higher premiums because the hospitals have to make up for the losses by charging citizens higher prices for services. The insurance companies know this, and that’s why co-pays are high. Get real, Marisa, illegal aliens are nothing but a burden on our society when it comes to health care. You’ll never admit it, because it doesn’t suit your highly biased extreme left wing preconceived notions and agenda.
    The Repbublicans were right, you not only want legal residency, but subsidized health care. They were also right about illegal aliens getting health care under the original bills, where the Democrats omitted verification requirement. Just as illegal aliens were lying on their I-9 Forms about being qualified for employment, they’s lie about obtaining subsidized health insurance.

  • Marisa Treviño
    September 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Sorry, Woodrow. I misspoke. You’re right. They don’t pay for health insurance, unless they have an employer who covers them and they are working with a false Social Security number but the vast majority DO pay for healthcare. The notion that the undocumented are nothing more than a group of freeloaders trying to take advantage of our healthcare system is a lie, plain and simple. In all honesty, I can’t say who originated that lie but it was clearly someone or some group who wanted to turn public opinion against undocumented immigrants. I know they pay for routine clinic visits and when they have to go to the doctor because my husband has been in the medical field in Texas for the last 27 years and throughout all this time, the patients with the best record for paying have been among the undocumented. It’s not known exactly the percentage because medical facilities used to care more about treating the patient rather than determining the legal status. No, millions do not use our emergency rooms and leave unpaid bills behind. Very few, in fact, unless it’s a catastrophic illness or injury, even use our emergency rooms. I’m sorry that you’ve been duped by a people who want you to believe what they say without thinking for yourself. But I’m afraid that at this point, no matter what evidence I show you to prove how wrong the information you’ve come to regard as the Bible-truth is will make an impression. In fact, you would probably accuse me of manufacturing the information which is laughable considering from where you get your information. All I can say is that when it comes to seeing someone in physical pain and in need of medical care that all of us are human enough to find help for that person rather than kick them to the side of the road and treat them like animals. What do you stand for Woodrow?

  • cookie
    September 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I would sure like to see proof that illegals are not a burden on our current healthcare system financially. There are statistics out there showing what a burden any uninsured persons are in this country on our healthcare facilities. It is common sense that illegals are a part of that group of uninsured.
    Another point to make is we all know how long it takes to see a doctor nowadays and what our emergency rooms look like with the long waits due to so many patients in them. It is sticking one’s head in the sand to deny that a big part of the problem isn’t the illegal popualation.
    What do you think this will do to our already overburdened healthcare practitioners if we add another 20 million or so to their patient lists?
    No, these people need to be deported so that their own countries can take care of their healthcare needs.

  • moris
    September 15, 2009 at 11:07 am

    “…….just to drive the point home to Wilson and others that undocumented immigrants are not included in any healthcare coverage.”
    Then Wilson was right, illegal immigrants might have sneaked their way into the system, just as they’ve done so for employment in this country, despite our laws prohibiting them. This wouldn’t have been needed had the Democrats approved the Republican intiative to use such language from the very beginning. The Democrats had intended to leave a loophole leaving out any enforcement, but couldn’t get away with it this time, as there too much light had been shed on their wanton neglect. They didn’t fool anyone.

  • Traci
    September 15, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Ok, Marisa, then your illegal aliens won’t mind if we exclude them from our subsidized health care. If they can afford to pay, like you say they can, it won’t be a big deal it we don’t. Apparently excluding them won’t result in them being kicked to the side of the road, will it?

  • Texan123
    September 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Take a visit to your local county clinic, prenatal clinic or WIC office. See for yourself who uses these tax funded facilities. OR visit the ER.
    I have told my family NOT to take me to the ER. If I am that bad off, call an ambulance. Otherwise you will sit for hours on end waiting for treatment in the EMERGENCY ROOM.
    Even with insurance, my 9 year old daughter waited 8 hours for a doctor to order an X-Ray of her broken arm. We did not leave the ER til after 2 am. The system is broken because people use the ER for non emergency situations.

  • Marisa Treviño
    September 16, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Well Traci, you’re learning. Yet, when a catastrophic illness or injury hits unexpectedly and requires hospitalization it doesn’t matter who you are, no one is prepared for those bills. Everyone deserves help. The notion that undocumented immigrants don’t want to pay is false.

  • Traci
    September 16, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    “The notion that undocumented immigrants don’t want to pay is false.”
    I took my nephew to the emergency room for a cut on his head that required stitches. It cost over a thousand dollars. You know why it cost that much for six stitches and a bottle of irrigating saline solution and a bandage? I was told that it was because for every 100 patients that pay, there are 12 who don’t, because they can’t afford to. And you know who those people are? It was told that they were migrant workers dropped off at the hospital by their bosses. And you want to give free health care to illegal immigrants, because that’s what we’re faced with, regardless of any health care bill. Migrant workers will never be able to contribute a fair share of the cost of medical cost, so you know who will pay for them? You guessed it, the rest of us who can. This is the hidden cost of migrant labor that you would saddle our country with.

  • Evelyn
    September 18, 2009 at 3:24 am

    Traci :
    Ok, Marisa, then your illegal aliens won’t mind if we exclude them from our subsidized health care. If they can afford to pay, like you say they can, it won’t be a big deal it we don’t. Apparently excluding them won’t result in them being kicked to the side of the road, will it?
    Reality Check: Undocumented Immigrants Can’t Buy Health Insurance … Even If They Can Pay Full Cost
    In response to republicans’ lies, inappropriate behavior (Joe Wilson R-SC called the President a liar) and anti-immigrant scare tactics to weaken support for health care reform, Obama has decided to cave in to Wilson and his supporters.
    Despite the fact that the bill has clear language about excluding undocumented immigrants from a new health care plan, Senator Max Baucus (D- MT) announced yesterday that a White House proposal to bar undocumented immigrants from buying health coverage, even if they can pay full cost, will be included in the health care reform bill.
    Senator Kent Conrad explained the move by saying:
    It is a judgment about how you advance this package effectively and with any chance of actually passing it
    But this “strategic” move only validates the lies and anti-immigrant scare tactics of conservatives, while defeating the purpose of effective health care reform.
    The Obama administration is making a mistake by letting the politics of fear win the health care and immigration debate. The debate needs to be reframed. The reality is, as revealed by DMI’s latest immigration analysis, that undocumented immigrants are part of our communities; pay taxes, and contribute to our economy. Fully integrating them into our society will benefit
    American workers and the economy.…_even_if_they_can_pay_full_cost/

  • James
    September 18, 2009 at 9:50 am

    “One Republican is enough for bipartisanship on healthcare bill”
    Oh really? Tell that to the millions of Americans that Republicans represent. They will likely differ with your statement, and vote that assenting Republican out of office in the next election. If you wish to stick your head in the sand and believe that all that is needed is the thinnest veneer of agreement to cover the Democrat butt when it comes to the possibility of a negative outcome (failed or inefficient program), when push comes to shove in justifying what they’ve done, then keep believing it. The risks are high for the Democrats, as ruining 1/6 of the national GDP would likely put the Democrats in the dog house for decades to come.

  • cookie
    September 18, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I have to laugh at those who call those of who are opposed to illegal immigration liars about the statistics on illegal immigration yet they themselves lie by saying we are anti-“immigrant”. No, we are not! We are opposed to illegal immigration. Hypocricy anyone?
    If Obama was telling the truth that those in our country illegally would not be able to gain national health insurance then why did he feel the need to close the loophole about the insurance companies not having to ask for ciitzenship status from the applicant just recently? That goes to show you right there that the loophole did exist!

  • Aaron
    September 18, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    “The reality is, as revealed by DMI’s latest immigration analysis, that undocumented immigrants are part of our communities; ………………”
    So are convicted criminals but we don’t want them in our society either. Simply being present in our country is no more a rational justification for being permitted to stay than a bank robber being allowed to keep the money he stole because he has it in his possession.

  • Candy
    September 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    “Reality Check: Undocumented Immigrants Can’t Buy Health Insurance … Even If They Can Pay Full Cost..”
    Reality Check: Illegal aliens would not be prevented from purchasing private health insurance if they felt inclined to do so.
    Believe me when I say this: Discussing the adoption of millions of new poor to be included in the health care insurance pool will destroy the health care crusade. The president has fired the first shot in his recent speech to Hispanics concerning granting amnesty and adding these people to the health insurance pool. Navarrette has also declared this to be so:
    Your president is clueless when it comes to America’s objection to amnesty and health care, never-mind health care for illegal aliens. Thank you, Mr. President!

  • Liquidmicro
    September 18, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Here Evelyn, I just left this for Mrs. Jimenez on her DMI Blog post entry.
    Author, Christina, maybe you should re-check your links. None of them state: Undocumented Immigrants Can’t Buy Health Insurance, Even If They Can Pay Full Cost, what they do state is that Government sub-sidies will not be offered to “Entry Violators or Visa Violators” for usage in any Government ran health care program. It in no way prohibits these “Entry Violators or Visa Violators” from purchasing health insurance through any private company. Your blog story is just that, a story that should be labeled as “fiction”.

  • Marisa Treviño
    September 19, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Candy, you stated “Your president…” That would either mean you’re not a US citizen or that you just validated what many feel is happening towards this President — a target of intense racism by so-called conservatives that runs so deep that it’s appalling. Even at the height of Bush’s unpopularity in this country, no one ever disowned him as president because to do so would make no sense. He was the president. Even when people said they were ashamed of him or embarrassed by him or even insulted him – no one said he was the president of one part of the country over another. Your remark appears to convey a cluelessness to me.

  • Candy
    September 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    “Candy, you stated “Your president…” That would either mean you’re not a US citizen or that you just validated what many feel is happening towards this President — a target of intense racism by so-called conservatives that runs so deep that it’s appalling.”
    Maybe I’m just so disgusted with his proposals and policies, (including health care), communist associates (Van Jones) , tax cheats (Geitner)and socialist czars, associations with corrupt groups (ACORN) regardless of his race. The fact that he was part of the corrupt Daley political machine is more than enough for me to make him suspect from the very beginning, but the press doesn’t seem to care, just as they didn’t care about corruption with ACORN. There’s enough to make honest citizens gag without any thought of his race. You too have become corrupt, because, regardless of his shortcomings, as long as he supported your position on amnesty you’d follow him to hell and back. Your interpretation of my feelings is just an opportunity to smear my utter contempt for the incompetent socialist and destructive road that this president is taking. You can’t force anyone to respect this president or be reluctant to disavow his authority. You’ve got to be kidding me when you say that George Bush wasn’t shown extreme contempt and disrespect for his authority, because anyone who hasn’t slept in a cave for years know otherwise. Your side has even threatened Bush with impeachment and as a war criminal. Hypocritically, you didn’t say a word about that when it occurred. LOL.

  • Pete
    September 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    ROFLO! I can’t believe you Democrats are claiming the high ground with respect to the dissing of presidents and disowning them to boot!! Hah!!! You have the audacity to claim that Obama is being abused like no other and that it is racist, but Bush, a white man, was insulted and called illegitimate throughout his second term. Democrats have continuous senior moments when it comes to incivility.
    1. Tom Pyle, policy analyst, office of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
    2. Garry Malphrus, majority chief counsel and staff director, House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice.
    3. Rory Cooper, political division staff member at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
    4. Kevin Smith, former House Republican conference analyst and more recently of
    5. Steven Brophy, former aide to Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.), now working at the consulting firm KPMG.
    6. Matt Schlapp, former chief of staff for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), now on the Bush campaign staff in Austin.
    7. Roger Morse, aide to Rep. Van Hilleary (R-Tenn.).
    8. Duane Gibson, aide to Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) of the House Resources Committee.
    9. Chuck Royal, legislative assistant to Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
    10. Layna McConkey, former legislative assistant to former Rep. Jim Ross Lightfoot (R-Iowa), now at Steelman Health Strategies. –Washington Post
    WHO IS DEBORAH STEELMAN?. Bush’s major health care adviser until around the time she was discussed in print in relation to Rep. Thomas, a California U.S. congressman who worked on a health bill (see below), is a lobbyist for the health care industry. Ms. Steelman earns a living as a Washington insider, a lobbyist representing the interests of Cigna, Pfizer, Aetna, United Healthcare Corporation, the Healthcare Leadership Council, and Prudential. Her interests dovetail nicely with Bush’s, since he has received maximum campaign contributions from many executives at Prudential, Cigna, and Aetna, and he has many close friends with close financial ties to the Health Care industry, such as Richard Rainwater, his billionaire friend and number one financial mentor.
    Steelman identified herself as his “senior advisor” on the five member Bush dream team. In a story in the Albion Monitor, Jeremy Breningstal describes the other members: “The team is composed of John Goodman, from the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank; R. Glenn Hubbard, a market-leaning economics professor at Columbia University; Donald Moran, president of a health care consulting group, Timothy Muris, a law professor and recently a consultant for Aetna in an anti-trust case; and William Roper, senior vice president at Prudential HealthCare before becoming dean of the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. None are practicing physicians or consumer advocates, and their philosophy is decidedly not patient-oriented.”
    Steelman chaired a Medicaid committee for Poppy during his presidential tenure. Even then, consumer groups chided her selection because she so clearly favored the industry over the consumer. As one GOP observer recently said about a report she made to the House Republican Conference, she was like, “the NRA coming in and writing gun legislation, except with her there was no disclosure.” Breningstal: “Bush is staying miles away from any sweeping reform of the health care industry, and the needs of 45 million uninsured Americans — a number expected to rise to as high as 60 million in the next decade.” —Politex, 12/7/00
    MORE ON STEELMAN…Rep. Thomas Relationship…Various Stories.
    Of Al Gore’s Presidency Denied, Eight Years of Illegitimacy, and the Triumph of Meritocracy over Corrupt Entitlement
    Submitted by mark karlin on Tue, 01/20/2009 – 10:01pm.
    * EditorBlog
    The BuzzFlash Editor’s Blog
    By Mark Karlin
    “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” — Macbeth
    For eight years, we have had a poor player (Bush), a man of infinite mediocrity, swagger and fret his hour upon our national stage, bringing the nation to near ruin, as he carried out the Machiavellian orders of a man full of sound and fury (Cheney) — and now that it is over, can we say that it signified nothing?
    The history of the world is full of episodes of horror, particularly the human propensity to engage in murderous wars, a legacy of our ancient ancestors’ penchant for territorial genocide.
    History is a book that remains open, and in December of 2000, we in the United States found that the chapter written by the voters — the election of Al Gore by 542,000 popular votes and his election in Florida were all the votes counted — was torn out of the book. It was rewritten by a vote of 5-4 by a U.S. Supreme Court who had no legitmate role in the election, and who said that their felonious ruling only applied to that particular case of Bush V. Gore. It was the mugging of democracy.
    BuzzFlash was publishing on the Internet at the time (we started in May of 2000) and there was nary a site like ours. With the Antonin Scalia orchestrated theft of an election, the BuzzFlash community jelled in an outpouring of grief and loss for our democracy. A dimwitted heir of Eastern Establishment (turned Texan) political brand name and his Regent were placed into power in order to preserve plutocratic rule, assert a military dominance of the world, and assume unprecedented powers to suppress the citizenry.
    In the end, they strutted upon the stage and brought the theater down upon them as they arrogantly stumbled about, wrecking everything in their path. They failed to stop a terrorist attack on the U.S., and then used their own form of terrorism to drive fear into the hearts of Americans.
    Bush’s public pronouncements were indeed tales told by an idiot. Cheney was evil incarnate “operating in the shadows.” He left the stage a hateful, unhumbled man in a wheelchair, rolled onward into the infamous pages of history.

  • Jamee
    September 20, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Clueless? OMG! You say that no one was dismissive of pres Bush as being a legitimate president? I beg to differ. I suggest that you owe Candy an apology, because this is truly false. You cast aspersions on her character by surmising in your usual poor logic; that everyone who dislikes Obama is doing so because of his race. I also suggest that you are so enamored with the idea of a black president that you are willing to overlook the quality of his policies for the sake of your own personal agenda.
    This is from the International Action Center’s 2001 archive: It’s only one of hundreds of articles on the web that excoriate Bush for many reasons. Republican objections to Obama have been civilized by comparison.
    “Bush, the politicians in Washington D.C., and all the corporate interests that run the government behind the scenes must know that the people view this new presidency as illegitimate and as a result, the people are mad as hell. This is especially true for the anti-globalization movement, student groups, labor unions, civil rights and community activists, women’s organizations, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.”

  • Marisa Treviño
    September 20, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Jamee and Pete, Go back and reread the post I wrote before you RE-act to it as you have any further. I never claimed that no one disliked Bush — that’s public record, as you’ve noted. However, show me one time whenever someone interrupted Bush when he addressed Congress with a comment of “You lie.” Lord knows there were plenty of opportunities to do that. Compared to what Beck and Limbaugh say about Obama, whatever was said about Bush never went to these extremes — and especially touted as fact to a gullible audience. Whatever was said was not describing Bush, that was the work of Comedy Central and SNL, but denouncing the lies his administration perpetuated to justify their policies. As more of his administration come forward to correct history we’ll learn the true ramifications. I’m not enamored of Obama or the Democratic Party but I’m smart enough to compare two parties, and decide for myself which one I like better.

  • cookie
    September 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Marisa, yes Wilson acted impulsively driven by his anger and should have exercised self control. However there is a first time for everything and anger can make us not think clearly as human beings. Congressmen are just as human as you or I. You and many other Democrats are beating this thing to death even though Wilson appologized for his outburst because you want to make it a racist issue when it is not. Obama did lie essentially because there was no enforcement provision in the bill to stop illegals from getting on the national healthcare bill. Is that what this country is coming to that we cannot criticize a minority president or immediately it is viewed as racism? By the way Obama is just as white as he is black so I wouldn’t call him a minority anyway just a person of mixed race. Why is his white side not even ackowledged by other minorities?

  • Evelyn
    September 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    By the way Obama is just as white as he is black so I wouldn’t call him a minority anyway just a person of mixed race. Why is his white side not even ackowledged by other minorities?
    Because in 1896 an all white supreme court decided it that way.
    African American
    – The Indological Knowledgebase
    Who is African-American?
    To be considered African-American in the United States of America, not even half of one’s ancestry must be black. But will one quarter do, or one-eighth, or less? The nation’s answer to the question “Who is black?” long has been that a black is any person with any known African black ancestry. This definition reflects the long experience with racism; white supremacy; slavery; and, later, with Jim Crow laws.
    In the southern United States, it became known as the one-drop rule, meaning that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. Some courts have called it the traceable amount rule, and anthropologists call it the hypo-descent rule, meaning that racially mixed persons are assigned the status of the subordinate group. This definition emerged from the American South to become America’s national definition, generally accepted by whites and blacks — but for different reasons. White supremacists, whose motivation was racist, considered anyone with black ancestry tainted, inherently inferior morally and intellectually and, thus, subordinate. Blacks, on the other hand, generally shared a common lot in society and, therefore, common cause — regardless of their ethnic mixture.
    The United States Supreme Court formalized the legal status of this rule in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), where the Court affirmed the legality of racial segregation and upheld the state of Louisiana’s ruling that, despite being 7/8ths white, Homer Plessy’s one black great-grandparent rendered him legally black and, therefore, subject to being barred from whites-only railway carriages.

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