Dena Bunis

Health Care and Immigration: Uncomfortable Bedfellows

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was emphatic that illegal immigrants should be included when the landmark health care bill was being negotiated in 2009. But the White House and Democratic leaders said it was not the right time and health care would be taken care of when immigration was overhauled.

Now, as both chambers get serious about approving legislation that could enable about 11 million illegal immigrants to become citizens, Hispanic lawmakers are again being told that now is not the time. Barring a dramatic change of course, neither the bipartisan Senate bill nor a bipartisan House measure that’s now being crafted would help millions of uninsured, illegal immigrants get health insurance.