Dec. 25, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
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Health Care and Immigration: Uncomfortable Bedfellows

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Gutierrez, who has led the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ immigration efforts, has said the two parties don’t see eye to eye on who should have access to health care.

Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the “gang of eight” that drafted the Senate bill, said in a recent video post to constituents that it isn’t “fair” to allow people who have violated U.S. law by being here illegally to benefit from a government subsidy. Beyond that, “the last thing we want to do is legalize 11 million people and have a significant percentage of them dependent on government. It’s not that we’re not compassionate. It’s that we cannot afford it; it isn’t responsible,” the Florida Republican said

The inability of these unauthorized residents to get insurance goes beyond their being barred from the subsidies. Under current law, legal permanent residents have to wait five years after they get a green card before they can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under the Senate bill, those restrictions remain. And given the timetable for people to complete all the steps necessary for them to go from undocumented to being fully legal, it would likely be at least a decade before most of these newly legalized immigrants could gain access those programs.

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