Missing Persons: Undocumented Immigrants

Missing Persons: Undocumented Immigrants

QUESTION: When does “universal” mean “all but 3.2 million”?

ANSWER: When it describes the actual coverage of U.S. residents for benefits under President Clinton’s health reform proposal. The language of the Health Security Act is clear: the estimated 3.2 million “undocumented aliens” currently residing in the United States are “not eligible to obtain the comprehensive benefit package through enrollment in a health plan pursuant to this Act” (Section 1005, (a), 17). While the plan would significantly expand access to health care overall, the unqualified claims of “universality” that commonly are used to portray this plan mask this significant exclusion.

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