Notes From Babel

Costco Must Love this Guy

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Andrew Romano at Newsweek offers the suggestion we should insure illegals.  Why?  Because, Romano theorizes, it would save money. Since illegal immigrants are, on average, young and healthy, they would bring the average cost for the pool of covered individuals down.

“So if you add cheaper people to the pool, like immigrants, you reduce the average cost.” More undocumented workers, in other words, means lower premiums for everyone.

That means cheaper, dunnit?

Well, yes, the same way buying a cask of mayonnaise is cheaper than an 18 ounce jar.  Until the jiggly white stuff goes rancid, you can sog your sandwiches on the cheap.  But then what are you left with when it starts to smell as frightening as it looks?  However cheap it was to begin with, it’s worth zero now.

This is the urge Costco customers learn to overcome.  It matters little whether you can buy twelve pounds of meat for the price of six if it spoils before you can get through two.  It makes even less sense when talking about a public option for health care.   Why would anyone get excited that we can get a better per insured rate on the public option if the bottom line is more expensive?  Romano talks as if he’s found a way to spin gold out of day laborers’ belly button lint.

Romano also believes Obama when he says the public option won’t cover illegals.  But HR 3200 suggests otherwise.  The Congressional Research Services report on HR 3200 explains:

H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in
the Exchange.

Footnote 27 goes on:

H.R. 3200 would not change any of the alien eligibility restrictions on the receipt of Medicaid. Thus, there could be aliens who would meet the categorical and income eligibility requirements for Medicaid but are ineligible due to their alien status (e.g., legal permanent residents within five years after entry to the United States), who under H.R. 3200 would be required to have health insurance.

I don’t know who’s buying what Romano’s selling.


Written by Tim Kowal

September 14, 2009 at 9:57 pm

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