There aren’t enough hours in a day to address the cataract of lies shat out by the Trump administration during “normal” times, to say nothing of misinformation threatening to drown us during primary season. But this Trump campaign ad stoking fear of immigrants coming and stealing OUR health care provides a nice opportunity to once again debunk some myths about what Medicare for All would mean.
The ad starts out with a clip of Savannah Guthrie during Night Two of the first debate, asking Democratic candidates to raise their hands if their plans would include coverage for undocumented immigrants. Everyone does. “They’re all the same,” intones a bargain bin Don LaFontaine. “These Democrats support giving illegal immigrants free health care at our expense, spending taxpayer dollars covering illegal immigrants, calling for socialized medicine, destroying health care as we know it, and putting illegal immigrants before hardworking Americans.”
Let’s go over this again, and surely not for the last time: Research shows that the uninsured actually create a higher financial burden thanks to the fact that they tend to wind up in emergency rooms of hospitals required to treat them—often from ills that could have been prevented had they had access to primary care—leaving the hospitals in debt.
And the cost? No one—neither the Congressional Budget Office nor independent experts—knows how much it would cost to insure undocumented immigrants. Some economists say that the expense of providing primary care would pay off, since it would prevent people from waiting until they were already very sick to seek treatment. But more to the point, let’s not pretend that Trump cares a single iota about wasting taxpayer dollars.
While we’re on the topic, undocumented immigrants are tax payers, contributing billions in federal taxes each year. They also pay local taxes: According to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, undocumented workers also paid a total of $11.7 billion in state and local taxes in 2014.
“Health care as we know it” is a joke. Nearly half of American adults under 65 are either uninsured or underinsured. The U.S. is ranked as the lowest performing health system of every developed country, even though it spends the most. This is thanks to the aforementioned lack of insurance; administrative inefficiency in which highly trained doctors find themselves bogged down with insurance claims and other paperwork; and a fractious, ineffective primary care system.
Despite all this, a CNN poll from June found that 38 percent of respondents were on board with health care for undocumented immigrants, while 59 percent opposed it. Well then.