Democrats on Thursday rejected legislation that would require immigrants to wait five years before they were covered under the nationalized program.
The Hill Blog reported:
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee defeated a Republican amendment to a healthcare bill that would require legal immigrants to wait five years before accessing federal health benefits.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) proposed the amendment, arguing that instituting such a limit would discourage people from coming to the United States to access government programs.
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But Democrats argued that a five-year waiting period would be unfair to immigrants legally residing in the United States and paying taxes. Moreover, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) argued, it would run counter to the bill’s requirement that nearly everyone obtain health insurance or face a financial penalty. “This amendment sets up a Catch 22 for legal immigrants,” Menendez said.
Meanwhile… The National Council of La Raza said that health care reform should include “everyone,” and this means illegal immigrants too.