August 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How should health care reform deal with illegal aliens?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to the health care debate - many Americans are fired up about what reform could mean for illegal aliens. One Blue Dog Democratic congressman says the issue comes up at every town hall meeting he holds.

Many constituents at Congressman Allen Boyd's events have been opposed to the idea that illegals would get any benefits under the new bill. Boyd insists that won't happen. He quotes directly from the House Bill:

"No federal payment for undocumented aliens; nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

But here's the problem: The way the system works now, illegal aliens - who often don't have health insurance and don't pay taxes - can go to a hospital emergency room and get treated for free... and nothing that's in this bill would change that.

Supporters of the president's plan mostly dismiss the impact of illegal aliens on our health care system... while critics argue that illegals are part of the reason costs are so high.

Since hospitals don't collect immigration figures... it's unclear how much people who are in this country illegally add to health care costs - but it's probably a pretty significant chunk of change.

Consider this: There are about 46-million people without health insurance in the U.S. Of those, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are about six-million uninsured adults who are illegal; and 700,000 uninsured children.

Here’s my question to you: How should health care reform address the issue of illegal aliens?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Sandra writes:
I am a Democrat, and I feel compelled to state that so Pelosi and Reid cannot say that only Republicans feel as I do: Hell no, nothing for illegals. Send them home and let Mexico take care of them. I’m fed up of paying for their free ride when I can't even afford to go get new eye glasses.

John writes:
Illegals will continue to get free health care. The politicians refuse to deal with this issue and it is costing us the taxpayers a fortune. The cost of all the freebies provided to illegals is one of the main reasons California is bankrupt.

Cristina writes:
This is a public health issue. What happens if there's a pandemic in our country but undocumented people can't get health care? That puts all of us at risk. Also, as the tradition of helping our neighbors and strangers in the U.S. is long and rich, we should continue to act in this spirit today, tending to the sick.

David writes:
Illegal aliens should only be treated for life-threatening conditions or accidents. Following their release, they should be turned over to immigration for deportation.

Richard from Watsontown, Pennsylvania writes:
If we gave everyone ID cards and fined employers that hired the illegals, we would end the problem. You can't blame someone who is sick and goes for free aid.

Mark from Naperville, Illinois writes:
Jack, Health care reform should close the loophole for illegals to get free health care. We need to cut off the incentives for people to risk coming here illegally. I would risk entering the U.S. illegally if I could get free health care and a free education. In fact, can I become illegal? These taxes are killing me.

Filed under: Health care • Immigration
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    It shouldn't. As a Californian I am sick and tired of paying for all the freebies that go to the illegals, our state is bankrupt and we just cannot afford them here. I wonder what does "illeal" mean? Our laws need to be enforced and we must quit rewarding those breaking our laws.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  2. Alex in Seattle

    CITIZENS pay taxes so that the government can provide benefits for its qualified CITIZENS. People breaking our laws should derive no benefits from the government.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  3. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Illegal aliens are why we need to focus on how much it costs to get medical care. No matter what we do on reform, they're not going to have insurance, so the rest of us are going to have to pay for their care. If we can lower how much medical care costs the hospital, we can lower how much they charge us. Lowering how much they charge us helps everybody, no matter what.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  4. Nate G.

    Simple answer: it shouldn't. if we allow them to get health care through this botched and bloated bill then we will have rewarded bad behavior while forcing regular Americans and immigrants who are here legally to foot the bill. But hey, that seems to be President Obama's official policy these days.
    The bottom line, Jack, is that middle class Americans will be footing the bill for this Health Care Reform, and it will be a big burden especially in these times of economic woe. If the government wants any chance to support this health care blunder they must first fix the economy, its time to see a change, not just hear about it.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  5. Scott in San Diego, CA

    As it stands now: Emergency room visit fees
    Illegal alien – everything free, no questions asked
    Legal uninsured citizen – 5 stitches in hand – 2,000.00 +

    It's a problem when those here illegally get everything provided for free, compliments of the tax payers, while citizens are raked over the coals to cover the costs of illegals.

    Deport them all!

    August 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  6. Bill in Sacramento, CA

    Jack, All persons who go to the emergency room have to provide personal ID information like your Social Secutity # and Drivers License. Treat the patient and check the social Security ID on the govt' verification system that is used for employment. When an ID comes up false the ICE is called and when the patient has recovered and is not in critical condition they are sent back to their place of origin. Yes it can be that simple!

    August 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  7. Melissa

    It should say that illegals have to pay out of pocket. Period. They are here illegally, they shouldn't be able to leech off the system as they aren't contributing members of society.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Jason, Knoxville

    They are not here legally, so we should not fund their health care. Pretty simple.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  9. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Haven't you heard? They are not part of the reform.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  10. Maria

    Enact an immigration plan w/"green cards", make the dates stick, and allow only those who can prove they r in US legally can receive health care. Harsh, yes. Needed, yes.


    August 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  11. marlene

    The proposed health care reform won't change anything about how folks who aren't citizens get emergency health care in this country.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  12. Richard Schell

    Set a date and inform Illegal aliens that after one year, they will no longer receive any benefits whatsoever. They got here on their own and they can return on their own. If not, any one applying for any benefits would be immediately deported.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  13. Rick Medina,OH


    This is a simple question. Without insurance (or a check-book,) we should deny care to anyone ... legal or otherwise .... excepting life-threatening emergencies. Emergency rooms were once 'emergency rooms,' now they are clinics for those who cannot afford health care.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    August 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  14. Fred R Deleon

    No health care for people (despite the nationality) without proper documents issued by Home Land Security. Health Care Reform Plan
    must not have such kind of medical services. Otherwise, we will see in America pack full of Hispanics from Mexico, Central America and South America. I don't think Obama administration is that stupid.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  15. D. (Ontario)

    In terms of health care reform and illegal aliens, there should be a separate package available, which is purchased by the employer, or charged to the country of origin. In any event, no child should go without proper health care.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  16. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Is this a trick question? This is so simple that it is a stupid question but I understand why you've asked it. They should be shipped back to their country and we should bill Mexico or wherever they came from for the expenses and if they are dying then treat them and make them or their country pay.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  17. Billy in Las Vegas

    when they show up at an emergency room, they should to get the medical care they need BUT then be DEPORTED. the United States does NOT have the resources to give these people free medical care at the governments expense.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  18. John in East Syracuse, New York

    A single modest proposal addressing two of the many bogus fears about health care reform: The death panels can euthanize illegal aliens who access Obamacare.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  19. Esther massillon ohio

    why should illegal aliens qualify when legal are barred? does that make sense to you? I have to say our reasoning when it to this makes my heart sick since I am married to a legal immigrant who has been through the processing and fee's and FBI checks and interviews pre-entry and after entry and is now a citizen. He couldn't qualify for anything food stamps, medical or cash. what part of illegal do we not understand and why do we have to reward them for it with free medical. doesn't make sense to me and to the others who came here legally before me. I am tired of the fighting over this. Are we not a country of laws? why can't we follow or laws or maybe I should be making a citizens arrest of the government for aiding and abiding laws and harboring criminals. please stop this madness.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  20. Olivia, Knoxville, TN

    Jack health care reform should address the issue of illegal aliens like an incurable disease. Congress should attack, laser, cut, and staple the illegal aliens health care reform issues. Only during an extreme life saving emergency health care should be given to illegal aliens. Or maybe there should be a health care reform plan illegal aliens pay taxes out of their illegal pay checks.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  21. Tom from Philly

    Heres the script Jack. Federal foto ID SS#, insurance card of default unless registered with private insurance. Can we beef up the vetran hospitals mabey double or triple the number and make these and new medical centers low cost alternative to private care.

    But i digress, so when you show up for care verifyable federal id required. Get it ?? current ss#s are completely unverifiable THAT is the problem the govt is decades behind technology

    August 18, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  22. Dennis North Carolina

    should not include them.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  23. Conor in Chicago

    Give them care, and then turn them over to INS.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  24. Michael - Atlanta

    Much to the chagrin of the followers of Rush, Hannity, Dobbs, and Beck,
    We already pay for them, but they deserve better. Most of the little health care they receive is through emergency rooms, run down clinics, mobile health fairs and it reactionary medicine. This costs twice as much whether the tax payers pay the bill or they do. It is amazing how two issues became one issue. If you offered affordable health care for all, I am sure that most illegals will be willing to pay their fair share.
    Immigration is an issue of legality. Health care access is a right of humanity. I think that once we split these two issues and put them in their proper perspective, people will see thing differently, and understand my point.
    Maria is great at taking care of your kids, and your home, she does a great job.
    Pedro is a great cook, and since he started reviews on the food have been great and business is up 15% even in this recession.
    Yet the same people that love Maria, and Pedro don’t care if Maria or Pedro get sick, or die because of lack of available services? It is time for America to take a good hard look at itself, and take up this issue as a Human rights issue, not a legal one.
    They may, just may make the correct decision. I can only pray for my fellow Americans to be the caring individuals that we tell the rest of the world that we are.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  25. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Like it or not these people are in this country and are going to get hurt and sick. These folks make up about half of the uninsured in America and that is driving up the cost for the rest of us. Think of it this way Jack healthcare is a lot like fast food restaurants. You go to the drive through and order a hamburger and fries and the guy in front of you does not pay for his food and drives off. You pull up to the window and then the restaurant makes you pay for your food and the guy in front of you too. The restaurant and hospitals are going to get their money one way or the other. Bill you now or bill you later through taxation or raising prices your going to pay. The sooner Americans realize that the better. Either enforce the immigration laws or suffer the consequences. That is congresses choice. They can not have it both ways or the American people will be stuck paying for it.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  26. William N. Clarke

    I feel this question is a distraction from the main issue namely, health care for everyone. A lot of issues can, and are brought up to derail this main issue. Insurance companies are skilled in formmenting distracting isssues aimed at insighting the public to completely end any and all healthcare reform of any kind. Your question is a good question, but I feel at this time it does not need an answer. Lest get healthcare reform, curtail the insurance companies excesses, get everybody covered, then we can answer your important question.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  27. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Include money to deport them.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  28. Tom, Bradenton, FL

    As you said Kacl "illegal aliens". They have no rights and right to health care. They should receive no benefits and if we deport them than we do not have an illegal alien problem.

    August 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  29. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    why not round them up and send them where they live legally? We need to take care of our own first.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  30. Jimmy in Houston

    Don't they already get everything for free??? They should be sent back home and come back the legal route...........which should only happen if they can prove they can support themselves and their family and not require ANY public assistance............we cannot afford them and we should quit rewarding these lawbreakers. What country can we go to and expect the citizens to provide us with all these free benefits that we don't get............at our expense?

    August 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  31. Richard Green


    If you are IN America [on vacation from another country, here illegally, here but you can't prove your citizenship, whatever....] you should have access to medical care if you are sick or hurt. What kind of country will we become if we do less?

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  32. JD in NH

    Treat emergency conditions. If a person requires continued care, they will need to return to their own country for it. 47 million Americans must go begging for medical care in this country every day. If we can't afford to care for our own citizens, we cannot afford to care for those who aren't.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  33. Jim


    Illegal aliens have no citizen rights. They cannot expect to be included, in any manner, in whatever health care reform bill finally gets signed into law. Illegals who are sick or injured should be treated humanely, given whatever medical care is needed to stabilize them. They should then be sent back to their country of origin, which should then be presented with a bill for any related costs incurred by the U.S.

    Reno, Nevada

    August 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  34. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    A huge part of our rising healthcare costs are attributable to our illegal alien population treating our emergency rooms like clinics. You cannot continue with a welfare-state and provide "free" services to everyone. Until illegal immigration is controlled and detered we will never fix healthcare. If we stopped providing heathcare to non-citizens, except in the most dire circumstances, it would go a long way toward deterring them from coming here in the first place.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  35. Paul Austin, Texas

    BIlls for care for illegal aliens no matter the country should be sent to the illegal's home country for payment with intrest compounded daily. If a country fails to pay then no individuals from that country should be let into the U.S. legal or illegal.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  36. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    I don't know. Maybe we should ask Canada since they have all the answers. How many millions of illegal American immigrants do they have leaching off the rest of their society?

    August 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  37. Irv Lilley

    Jack, No matter how a system is setup, people seem to have no trouble abusing it. Best way to deal with illegal aliens is to check E-verify .

    August 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  38. Ed from California

    Jack, illegal aleins are not covered under HR 3200. Kaiser requires a card for service, or you just tell them some info. I would imagine that a new insurance ID card will be issued to address this very issue. It's the states that cover the undocumented aliens, not the feds. Here in California we give out Welfare and money and housing to everyone. The feds are going to kick this down to the states and let them deal with it.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  39. Simon/Orlando

    Absolutely exclude them. They don't pay a dime in taxes to support any part of any U.S. government programs. They should not receive any benefits. They have their own health care systems back in their coutries of origin. Let them go back and us those.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  40. Robert, New Orleans

    Health care should not be freely available to illegal aliens or Octomoms. Period.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  41. Elizabeth Spring Hill, TN

    It should address the issue of illegal aliens by not including them in the reform. If they want the advantages of the United States, they should become citizens.

    Spring Hill, TN

    August 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  42. Sherri-Illinois

    They definitely have to be LEGAL and that should be made clear from the outset. Of course if an emergency situation that results in a ER visit, no one should be turned away but with this Healthcare Reform no illegal aliens should be covered.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  43. JWC in Atlanta

    Being an illegal is the ultimate pre condition. If we insure illegal immigrants I can imagine that we might as well get ready to burst open the door of U.S. population growth.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  44. Brian - Trinidad

    Cover the ones from Earth,not the ones from Mars.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  45. chris

    plain and simple cut them off of it and out of our healthe care it is for legal american taxpayer cizens only the rest can take a hike across the border

    August 18, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  46. Jackie in Dallas

    Jack, both bills (the House and the Senate) specifically say that illegal aliens are NOT covered. How much more do the fanatics want? We are ALREADY paying for them at charity hospitals and free clinics, because it isn't always even legal to make them show their green cards or ID in those locals.

    The critics are looking for a fight, and this just gives them one. Just another place where they can mis-lead the American people. Illegals are basically a fact of life...we can either find better ways to encourage them to register and get their green cards - and pay taxes - or we can continue to penalize the 40 million legal residents who DO pay taxes (like me) who are without insurance. Those members of the House and Senate better remember that 40 million of us can put quite a dent in their population!

    August 18, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  47. John

    Illegals will continue to get free healthcare, the politicians refuse to deal with that issue and it is costing us the taxpayers a fortune to pay for them. The cost of all the freebies provided to illegals is one of the main reasons California is bankrupt. Years back we voted to deny benefits to illegals and our idiotic governor at the time.....Davis had our votes thrown out and our taxes have skyrocketed and the politicians still want more money out of our pockets. We cannot afford to keep paying for all those law breakers. Deportation is the only solution!

    August 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  48. bob z, from pa.

    we should do illegal immi8gration first get them all out of the country then do health care

    August 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  49. Sandra Schutt

    I am a Democrat, and I feel compelled to state that so Pelosi and Reid cannot say that only Republicans feel as I do. HELL NO nothing for illegals, send them home and let Mexico take care of them. Fed up with paying for their free ride when I can't even afford to go get new eye glasses....

    August 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  50. John from Alabama

    Jack: Heath Care Reform is only for citizens of the United States of America. It is not for illegal aliens or people who have green cards. If someone trys to place illegal aliens in the bill it is DOA. During these are economic times people do not want to give illegal aliens anything.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  51. Rick Medina,OH


    Excepting life-threatening situations, illegal aliens are not entitled to any health care they cannot pay for.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    August 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  52. honestjohn in Vermont

    If I am in a foreign country legally or illegally I don't think I will receive free healthcare from the country I am in, will I?
    If I will, please let us know what countries are so generous?

    Since it seems that our government is unable to control our borders and we have some 6 Million +/- illegals here then they should be required to at least pay taxes and contribute to healthcare to receive any kind of healthcare.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  53. Lou from Fayetteville, NC

    It doesn't! They are illegal and if they haven't tried to comply with our laws and have a green card, then they are illegal and they go home if they are sick. My opinion: Immigration should have been resolved before health care reform so that problem could have been resolved first.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  54. Gary H. Boyd

    Strictly "Cash and Carry" - simple as that.

    Gary H. Boyd, Scottsdale, Arizona

    August 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  55. Sue in Los Angeles, CA

    The Democrats will handle it the way they handle everything else......tax the working people more to pay for everyone elses benefits. Illegals are getting it free now, what's to change?

    August 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  56. Jay in Texas

    Until we get adequate and fair immigration reform, undocumented immigrants should continue to be treated in Emergency Rooms. To refuse them this necessary medical treatment is inhumane.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 18, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  57. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Let the damn Republicans and their insurance companies pay for their care after all most of them get a lot of money from the insurance lobbyist.
    Most Americans can't afford to pay for their own insurance we sure can't afford to pay for all the illegals.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  58. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Tell the illegals to go to their home country where the U.S's foreign aid is paying for the health care in those countries so there's no need to get lesser care here.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  59. Al Bledsoe in Dallas

    Illegal aliens should be arrested and those fostering them should be prosecuted. Once in custody urgent care may be necessary, paid for by US tax payers until they are well enough for deportation. This is the law isn't it? (INA 1952) Perhaps, another law is needed to add to the prosecution of those fostering illegal aliens for them to pay for the health care the illegal alien may need during the legal process. However, there is probably enough regulation but not enough execution. Those fostering illegal aliens could be health care workers and health care institutions themselves. I believe existing laws would apply to their prosecution. too. Again, however, the US tax payer has to pay for the criminal unless a judge can ask for restitution. Should we do away with health care in federal penitentiaries?

    Any other questions, Jack?

    August 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  60. Mysterious

    They are part of the problem. I work at a hospital in Chicago for the poor and uninsured. The amount of illegals is mind-boggling. There are more illegal people here than citizens. Some people fly in from Africa to receive "free" treatment at taxpayer expense. The illegals are probably a major part of the problem in California. We feed them, medicate them, educate them, and they get paid under the table and send that money back home. Put nothing in and take everything out. They are doing much better than me, and I pay taxes!!

    August 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  61. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    Gee we might not to even have this discussion if President Bush did his job and worked to pass some type of immigration reform.

    We could have taken all the Clunker cars and smelted them down and use the steel to build a nice high strong fence all across the Southern Border. That would open up a steel mill and put steel worker back to work.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  62. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    Until an immigration solution is reached, there can be no way to address this problem. Lets face it, our Conress is not really in a problem solving state of mind anymore, so this would be just too much for them to get their heads wrapped around.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  63. Lucy

    Call me a human being, but if I worked in an ER and a fellow human being walked in and needed emergency treatment, I would not care whether or not he/she was a resident of this country. I would hope the same is true for the healthcare professionals of this country.
    SF, CA

    August 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  64. DawnL,CA

    Healthcare reform for "illegal aliens" should be a short airplane ride to their country of origin. Problem solved!

    August 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  65. Christy in Surprise, AZ

    Perhaps they should add a provision which allows ER staff to inquire on a patien's legal status (but not show proof). Inquiring, alone, will deter people from going for "free" healthcare. This may also give us a better estimate of the costs involved in treating those people in the country illegally. Let's face it, if this bill passes, most Americans will have to sacrafice in some way, be it financially or in the quality of care...why should the legal residents be the only ones to sacrafice?

    August 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  66. Mike, Michigan

    Illegal immigrants are a major factor in escalating health care costs, not to mention other social costs. We must not allow them to be included in this plan. To offset emergency room costs, the country of origin of said illegal should be billed. If no country can be determined, through the illegal's unwillingness to co-operate or other reasons, then the bill will be paid equally by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Chamber of Commerce.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  67. chuck

    As a proud liberal I know this will not sit well with many lefties. I don't think we should give any rights or benifits to people who break the law. I also think we should quit allowing the conservatives to lie and scream and dominate the public conversation! Such blatent hypocricy should be ignored.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  68. bobwhite in Kansas

    Healthcare for illegals is a big dilemma. I don't believe that they should be covered in our new national healthcare system unless they purchase coverage like any other person. But I do believe that their healthcare needs must be provided. Possibly through charity. Maybe employment health insurance plans where it is considered part of their compensation. Other ideas?

    August 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  69. Jay in Michigan

    Jack, it doesn't matter, they will find a way around any system we put in place to take advantage of our goood will and continue to reap the rewards of this country without contributing to it.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  70. Harold, LPN in ANCHORAGE, AK

    Bill the country of origin; if they refuse to compensate us, off-set by that amount with interest any indebtedness the U.S. owes.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  71. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    All children should be covered because they don't have a choice to be here. Americans traveling in Europe are taken care of without pay, except in France where the government pays 65% and the people buy private insurance for the other 35%, so you might have to pay the 35%. I'm not sure. I also noticed that no one talks about the homeless either. Have a heart America.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  72. kokabear

    It should be a non issue. They should not receive any medical care at all. I have to pay for my health care why shouldn't they? I am tried of the dead beats taking and taking and not giving back to society. If you don't work and can you should receive nothing. Health care is not a right. Only if you can pay. If you are unable to work then you should receive some help.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm |

    Health care reform should addess illegal aliens like this.
    Hello Mr Iilegal alien, because you walked through my hospital doors I am obligated to heal what ever ails you today because it would be unethical to refuse you, and you know that don't you Mr Illegal Alien. Do you need any special surgical procedure done that the rest of the American taxpayers will pay for?
    Sounds like a paragraph from a childrens book, doesn't it Jack.
    Tell me that this is not the way it goes down every day in our hospitals.
    We are enablers of the 3rd kind.
    Two things; 1)-Stop them at the border.
    2)- Make it so that it is unprofitable to stay here illegally.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  74. Kyle in Chicago

    Simple. Repeal the law that requires that a hospital treat anyone who walks in the door without regard to ability to pay. When someone shows up at the hospital, run a quick e-Verify check on the computer, and if they're not eligible to work in the US (and don't have a tourist visa in their passport), then they're directed to their local embassy for medical care.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  75. Kerry Florida

    As it is now when an illegal alien is admitted to ER rooms across the country, they are taken care of at our expense anyway so what we need to do in order to keep all costs down compared to the current high costs is include them in the healthcare plan with one exception.

    For those who are working since they aren't US citizens should have an extra amount taken out for their healthcare. Anything beats the alternative, Jack.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  76. Jenna

    How should health care reform address the issue of illegal aliens?

    Since we have not done anything as a nation to address the illegal immigrant issue, other than to put up a fence between the US and parts of Mexico's border, we can not turn on back of folks needing care.

    I would like to see them go to government owned and operated clinics and county hospitals when that level of care is needed.

    Not to sound mean, but I do not want sick illegal immigrants working next to me, shopping next to me, riding public transportation with me, sitting next to my children in school etc.. I want them to be healthy.

    Whether we establish health care clinics or they arrive at hospital emergency rooms because they have no insurance WE PAY. I would rather us be cost effective in their care.

    As a Christian nation we need to remember that Jesus would not turn away one in need just because they were not from his area...

    Roseville CA

    August 18, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  77. Michael Lawrence

    Hey Jack,

    If the public option is such a scary idea, I was wondering why? Is it because people believe that there would be an overflow of illegal aliens and other non tax paying people leaching onto the public medical dole. If this is the reason then I am puzzled as to why we, in this era of increasingly profound technology don't institute a system where people have to be screened and registered as citizens first, followed by either electronic fingerprinting, DNA and retina scanning to prevent fraudulent use of the public option. By simply placing a finger into a reader a person's identity along with their medical records could be retrieved. If there are doubts as to a persons identity in spite of the fingerprinting a retinal scan of the person in question could also prove to be a deterrent to fraud. Also, as another safe guard perhaps even DNA samples can be taken and used for identification. All persons seeking the public option should be willing to undergo screening and proof of citizenship. Once their information is validated there could be instituted a triple redundant system using holographic identification cards the fingerprint scan and the retinal scan as well as DNA validation if needed .
    If I were to use the public option I would have no problem of proving my identity through any if not all of these methods. Besides, the public option is really only going to attract those people who do not have health insurance through their job. It's going to be a crowded type of emergency room for the people to get health care. this would probably dissuade employees from turning away from their current healtjh care and staying with their private providers. It's just going to creae a new class of healthcare public and private the choice will be the peoples.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  78. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    Although it may seem harsh, perhaps hospitals should start checking immigration status and only allow treatment of undocumented adults in life-or-death situations. We should not be forced to pay health care costs for adults who are healthy enough to break the law to get here. My parents were immigrants who took the time to do things right. There is no reason that other people cannot do the same.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  79. cy gardner

    If they show up at a hospital, call the cops. Illegal is ILLEGAL. Why does the meaning of that word change if you can't speak English or are a former member of the Bush administration? If you have a gunshot wound, you either keep it to yourself or submit to the doctors reporting you to the police. What's the difference? cy arlington, va

    August 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  80. Pugas-AZ

    Bill the Mexican government , Or what ever country is appropriate, for services rendered. Or maybe we could bill the United Nations.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  81. Karl from SF, CA

    When I go to Kaiser Permante I have to have my Kaiser Card and photo ID. The system needs to work the same way. It sounds callous, but when enough illegal’s get refused service in ER's the idea of free health care for illegals may get properly defined and might encourage them to not come here for health care. Make it the law. And no passport for visitors, no service.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  82. william fitzwater

    Here is the problem this is the underground economy. Undocumented workers play a role there by virtue of the fact they will do jobs legal people would not do. For undocumented workers don't pay insurance medical or auto they don't pay taxes in some cases they stay under the radar so to speak yet they contribute to the economy as whole.
    The problem is by saying they deserve nothing and go back home is some ways inhumane . However I don't enjoy paying my taxes and dues for people who essentially get a free ride. They don't have to pay their dues (until their caught) while others like me pay my dues and get screwed by the government.
    I think a health plan needs to be structured to help them but the coverage must be more limited. There also needs to be clinics set up to treat low income & undocumented workers. I am happy to say in our county this does exist. However by virtue of those services being offered here also attracts people to use those services. So in effect it creates a drain from areas which could afford to pay those services to areas that are already stressed. There is a not in my back yard mentality toward undocumented workers.
    Lastly immigrants have always been a scapegoat in this country. During good times they are welcomed with open arms & in bad times they are the blame . Its still the same argument.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  83. paul coke

    should health care deal with illegal aliens, well, it certainly will, but health care is essential than we should provide it. The misunderstood fact is illegal aliens who work actually pay taxes, have childern here, so good health care is essential. It is the uninsured that slam the emergancy room and drives up the cost. universal health care would lower the cost and provide unversial coverage, but, we all no insurance companies will fight tooth and nail over for profit health care and find ways to create limits and deny coverage, so their interest is about providing health care, there interest is profit from health care. An some politicians profit for standing up for the seedy side of the health care business. Shame on them, who do they realy represent?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  84. John, Fort Collins, CO

    In addition to excluding illegal aliens from coverage, the healthcare reform bill should require hospitals to bill the employers of illegal aliens for the full cost of their treatment. In the event these people are unemployed, they should be assigned to a federal work detail where they remain until the cost of their medical treatment and their three-hots-and-a-cot on the job site have been repaid.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  85. Arcy

    To start with, any hospital receiving government funds should be required to keep records of those people who cannot produce valid identification proving they are legally in this country. This would allow us to determine the real number of illegal aliens who are taxing our medical facilities into near bankruptcy. Jack, I've read other reports indicating numbers much higher than those you cited from the Pew Hispanic Center.

    Second, non-emergency medical facilities receiving government funds should continue to deny treatment for non-emergency care. Until our hospitals have enough money to take care of those who are law abiding, we shouldn't be giving free healthcare to those who broke the law to enter this country.

    New York, NY..

    August 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  86. Kyle Irvine, CA

    The health care reform bill should not give health care to illegals and should deny illegals medical treatment in hospitals. It's easy, if your legal, you should get health care. If your illegal, no health care.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  87. Phillip McCallum

    Hopefully better than the way the state of Michigan handled immigrants who arrive in the country today and get food stamps in the morning. I was a sky cap at Detroit metro I helped a family through with baggage and customs the next morning I went to turn my monthly report and they were there getting food stamps it took my family 5 weeks. Good Luck !

    August 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  88. Darren

    If we have to give illegal aliens State IDs how about marking them as illegals so as not to be confused with someone native to this country.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  89. J, Utah

    Illegal or not, if you don't pay taxes you should not be afforded the same benefits as those who do pay taxes. Can't get something for nothing!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  90. Jean Rose

    No one wants to see a child in pain or sick without treatment. Solution is first to document the status the Mom and Dad's residence in the country. Treat the child until recovery and restoration of health. If Mom and Dad are illegal, immediate deportation should follow taking their well child with them. Thank you very much American taxpayers. How many times are the American people going to be hijacked by people from all over the globe. When we run out of the means to do so, what will they do??

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  91. Matt, California

    Hey Jack,

    I believe that they undocumented aliens should be allowed to pay into a special fund where they can be allowed access to health care. Just because one is illegal, does not mean that we have a right to let them go sick or even die. That's not the American way. If they want access to health care, they should be allowed to pay and then be allowed to access it unhindered.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  92. D Labi

    Illegal aliens should pay for their own healthcare, whether full health care insurance premiums or full cash pay. If American citizens and legal immigrants can do thus, why not illegal aliens? After all, it was a CHOICE to come here and a CHOICE to have a child. This is called responsibility, something that President Obama stresses. This goes for the parents (who should be verified) of anchor babies born in the US to illegal aliens, also.

    I see illegal aliens owning cars, even houses and businesses. Why not be responsible for health insurance?

    I do not want to see a "compromise committee" of House and Senate members stripping all the bills of this requirement in some backroom deal, as they want to do.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  93. Austin

    It's about time someone at CNN, besides Lou Dobbs, asks a serious question like this. I'm a liberal'progressive, and I have serious concerns about illegal immigrants and their impact on the country, and especially on poor Americans. The estimate of 6 million adults quotes in your question is the lowest estimate I have ever heard. The real number is more like 12 to 20 milion. They will have a devastaating impact on health care costs (in fat, they already do). If the Democrats' bill pass, it will be the last nail in the coffin. The United States will be officially brankrupt within 10 years. The health care debacle is bad enough. If the concerns about illegal immigrants is not address, there is no way a bill will pass, nor should it. And if Obama tries tp push Immigration Reform next year as he says, the backlash will be much greater than we're seeing with the health care bill.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  94. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    As the decendant of horse thieves that snuck in from Canada, and later got good jobs at an asphestus plant in Libby Montana, I would hope that Americans would be good samaritans.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  95. Melissa, Humble, TX

    Why should we pay for them to have free healthcare? On one hand, you can't refuse someone treatment if they need it, but on the other hand, I don't think it's right for non-citizens to bleed the system dry. We're in quite a quandry – is there an answer? Maybe insurance companies could be mandated to contribute to an "Illegal Aliens Fund" that helps offset the cost, relieving the American people from this burden.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  96. Yeshiembet Gemaneh

    First and for most it is very appropriate to straighten the immigration situation. Once a person is in a land he or she if they get sick, of course they should get treatment. After all America is a land of humane.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  97. Carl

    One of those places where the rubber meets the road?
    We are hearing so much about the budget anymore.
    No more free lunch's?, was there ever one???
    So. Maybe we come to a place where we take care of our citizens first?
    "Octomom" not withstanding.
    Sorry if I seem rude. Maybe life's kinda that way sometimes.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Joe Miscavage

    Jack, it's even more isidious, since the way hospitals in Southern California have gotten around providing this care, is to close their emergency rooms.

    Around a dozen or so have stopped providing trauma care, at a time when we're supposed to be prepared for a terrorists attack, the big one, or the car accident you or I may get into.

    In my neighborhood, if I had to go to an ER they would drive by 2 or 3 hospitals to bring me to an inferior one.

    Is this a great country or what!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  99. Paula

    What part of the word "ilegal" is not clear.
    Are we referring to "illegal health care"?
    So help me understand. What would be the point of becoming legal if you already have all the same benefits?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  100. jesus torres

    Illegal aliens do pay taxes. On the items they purchase, and the taxes taken from checks that they do not claim come tax time. They also cannot apply for or use services such as welfare, disability, or Medicare. Aside from that who are you calling alien? Pilgrim!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  101. Dave F

    I believe that the companies that are hiring these people should provide them with health insurance until they can go through the proper channels then provide them with health insurance as an American I would more than please to pay for innocent children that come into this beutiful country it's not the children faults.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  102. IowaGuy

    If you are not paying into the system, you should not benefit from it! But, this should not include children, as they are not resposible for their situation. The line has to be drawn somewhere.
    Iowa City, Iowa

    August 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  103. Frank Horner, Philadelphia

    Secure our borders and solve the problem. This is the result of a do nothing policy regarding immigration.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  104. Bruce

    Here's the perfect solution: bar all illegals and their children from hospitals. They will then spread disease to the rest of the populaton, killing off the weakest among us, thereby reducing the cost of caring for this vulnerable population. The illegals would also die, thereby reducing this unwanted population. We wouldn't even need death panels and health care would become affordable.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  105. Kay Countess

    How in the world can you deetermine costs of medical care for all Americans when you don't have cost of medical care for illegal aliens. Recently I heard they go to emergency rooms – wasn't that part of the Obama health change to stop people from going to emergency rooms except for genuine emergencie to keep costs down? What about alien babies born in USA? – who pays for that; illegal school children in our school systems if they get sick? These are basic questions that must be answered.
    No medical package should be accepted until these costs to all tax paying citzens of USA is addressed.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  106. missy

    i feel that the health care reform should not deal with illegal aliens. The keyword here is illegal. If they are not supposed to be here why are we providing them with health care.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  107. Terry

    I feel sickened that people actually are irate about helping anyone who is sick. The idea that illegal alliens might get free health care!!
    What kind of person wants to deny another human being health care because they came to this country with hope to make a new and better life. How can such hatred and vehemence be part of a health care bill.
    What kind of human being doles out treatment because of race or financial status. The disgust I feel as an RN with the republican party, the bigots and the fact that Obama wants to give these renegades equal time makes me feel the same way I felt when Bush was in charge.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  108. Albert K.. L.A, CA

    Since America is the world’s leading spender on health care yet ranks 37th place on the World Health Organization's list of top countries for quality services maybe we should look at other national health care plans and ask what they do when Americans sneak into their ER rooms. Italy’s National plan ranks No. 2, and France, Canada, and even Cuba provide quality care with a public plan at a lower cost. The answer is the public option.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  109. Anna DeBlasis

    Why don`t we just make the whole country of mexico part of America and TAX them all ! Their ALL going to end up here any way.... That way maybe we`d get some of our money back ! In 20 years their all going to be in politics and end up running this country... If we take over their country at least we`ll have a chance of keeping some kind of order !! ! Then maybe we can tax all of the pot they grow on both side s of the borders.... Now that`s a thought !

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  110. Dr David Tanton

    Illegal aliens should only be treated for life threatening conditions, or accidents. Following their release, they should be turned over to immigration for deportation. Hopefully that would be a deterrent.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  111. William H.

    The bill should require that all hospitals give illegal immigrants that come in for service, the minimal basics to keep them alive, while the process of deportation takes effect. The country in which they've derived from should have to deal with the burden.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  112. Jeanette Green

    I have been in the hospital numerous times many of which were emergencies. The first thing I am asked is to show proof I have insurance coverage–which I have Medicare and a supplement.

    I also have to sign a paper that guargantees payment of my hospital bill if these 2 insurance coverages do not pay any or all of it. What is asked of illegal aliens?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  113. Laura

    Sick illegal workers + no emergency health care = no fresh picked fruits and veggies on your table, no baby sitting for your children, no vallet parking for your expensive cars, nobody to do your lawn, and on. and on

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  114. Paul Johnson

    It shouldn't. This has been a major problem for state who are requested to fund medical, education, and other expenses. The legal residents should not be expected to pay for these services.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  115. Bruce Todd

    Adding fuel to the fire, the US takes in 1-1.5 millions foreigners a year. How will Obama's health reform handle these millions of people waiting for US citizenship?

    Bruce, from Ontario Canada

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  116. Gloria Clackum


    Seeing how so many illegal immigrants work for companies who don't have to provide them with benefits like health insurance, why not have a provision in any new legislation making the employer responsible for the medical bills of illegal immigrants!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  117. John DiMola

    That's an easy one, Jack...just provide the care to the illegal aliens & send the bill to their "home" government & let them pick up the tab. If that dosen't work, just do like everyone else dues...sue 'em!


    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  118. Linda in Arizona

    I suppose there could be a provision in the bill that requires people to be citizens of the US to receive benefits, but how would it be enforced? I know doctors here in Arizona who would refuse to ask about citizenship before providing care. I think they're separate issues, but when they get to "immigration reform", all we can expect is amnesty for illegal aliens. You are correct that it's a huge problem that is significantly driving up health care costs, however, politics being what it is, I doubt we will EVER see anything substantive done about it.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  119. Mark in NY

    (please disregard my last post, this is the corrected post)

    U.S. citizens can go to other countries to get health care that they could not afford here (medical vacations), and they are getting that care. They aren’t being thrown out or denied free care because they are not citizens or taxpayers in that country.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  120. David C

    Change the Statue of Liberty to say: "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    But don't ask for a handout lest you be born to riches or are waving a gun. You are not deserved of what you do not already possess."

    Deport/prevent illegal immigrants? Fine. But do not sit by why they starve or waste away from no healthcare. How can humans be so dismissive?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  121. David WIthrow

    Illegal and uninsured or citizen and uninsured, all add to the costs of health care through administrative costs for hospitals. That is how we administer health care in this country – at the most expensive for those who are the poorest. We pay in higher Insurance costs overall to cover these expenses and to protect bloated profit margins. A public option will make it less expensive for all of us as we can reduce the administrative costs in hospitals and make the emergency rooms really for emergencies. In this way we can control some of the exploding costs.
    Without the public option all we are doing is postponing our bankruptcy. The opposition to the public option is just another way for the Republican Party to bankrupt the country: Unpaid war costs, lack of banking regulations, protection of insurance company profits. We could go on – but why?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  122. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Round these parts, most of the folk who rail about illegal aliens being cared for on the public dime tend to be self identified tub thumping, Bible beating Conservative Christians.
    Seems there was this rabbi once who is reported to have said,
    "Whatever you do unto these the least of my brethren, you do unto me." I reckon they'd have kicked him out of the ER too, him not being an American.

    Arlington Texas

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  123. Jim Green, Seguin, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    That's easy, Jack, we start looking upon healthcare as every other civilized country in the world-as a human right--and then we can make the reforms we all know need to be made--and with the saving we can cut our healthcare costs in half-and stop our xenophobia!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  124. John - Carlsbad, CA


    Healthcare facilities should be a part of the e-verify or similar program and mandated to properly identify all their patients. If they are found to be illegals they should be deported immediately. Illegals are a part of this problem and needs to be addressed either as part of this healthcare debate or as part of immigration reform.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  125. Concern_Citizen

    I don't have a problem if illegal aliens get health care because they work hard even if they don't have papers think about there children they get sick just like ours too. I'm a USA Citizen!!!
    Don't have noting against illegal aliens.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  126. Vivien from NY

    When you go to a foreign country and get ill you are treated in that country. We should do what ever other countries do why should we be different?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  127. robert

    We have to protect the herd that means all of us here in the country . If an undocumented kid is sick other kids could be sickend too disease does not respect borders.
    Taxes - Like they just go into Walmart and say I'm illeagal do not charge me tax. Of course they pay tax ,sales and income tax if they have a job on the books.
    Stop all the hype and give me some health care I can afford.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  128. Laura Koukas

    Did mandatory auto insurance force drivers off the road? No, of course not. Mandatory health insurance (for every human walking in the U.S.) won't either, and therefore, MUST be part of health care reform. This will be the ONLY thing that will stop illegals(and others) from opting for the ER and diverting the savings to luxury items and services.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  129. Bruce Haines

    Jack, I know you won't read this on your program, because the liberals would find it cruel! However, if illegal immigrants want free medical care they should volunteer for the armed forces. That way their whole family could receive benefits and we could make them legal. Is that legal?

    Highland, CA

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  130. Peter Borgstrom

    There is no such thing as free medical care. When you go to the emergency room they take your address, and yes, they send a bill to that address. I've lived here in the U.S. as a legal immigrant for 16 years, even though they new xenophobic term is alien, and I have always paid my emergency -room and hospital care bills. Even when I've been without insurance. Otherwise they go to collection. This thing that people born in other countries get medical care for free is a lie, and right wing propaganda, and it is your resposibility, you in media, not spreading it. Free medical care for "alians" is a lie. Also I thought that aliens where sci-fi creatures existing only in fiction.
    Peter Borgstrom

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  131. christina palacio

    I think this issue must be delt with very carfully. What many americans don't understand is that these illigal aliens get big chunks of their checks taken out and given to uncle sam too!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  132. Michael McDowell from Ft. Hood Texas

    One of the main reasons the bozos come over to our country is because of our stupid charity in free healthcare and education. Illegal aliens are destroying this nation just like other civilizations before us. They don't deserve the right to be here, to exploit us and make us pay for their brazen disregard for the law. Let them bankrupt Mexico......not the US!!! Jack, Watch the bleeding hearts scream on this one!!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  133. Robert

    I saw a man on a bicycle hit by a car. I stopped to help. I ask for proof of citizenship before calling 911. The injured man was unable to prove he was a citizen so I returned to my car and drove off. God Bless America

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  134. Arthur Martinez OKC, OK.

    These people are breaking the law and Congress should change the current policy and the signs at ALL hospitals should be replaced to read "Only U.S. Citizens will be treated". NOW is the time for AMERICA to take care of our own first and local police start enforceing the law and send them back NOW.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  135. Henry Ried

    I am another one of those pesky Canadians
    Ilive in Ontario Canada where alegal citizens are covered by Health Care. All eligibal citizens are issued with a Health care card which bears your name and photo. Whenever you visit you visit your Doctor or Emergency ward hospital it must be presented. if you do not have one you are liable for services rendered.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  136. John from Long Island

    People who are ill should be treated. Even those who feel that illegal immigrants should be deported must agree with the fact that these illegal aliens are still human beings and as a society we are obligated to help them if they are sick; if not because it's the right and moral thing to do, then because it's a public health risk not to. Imagine someone without a greencard having untreated swine flu traveling on public transportation infecting others because they fear deportation if they go to getting treatment. What is the cost then?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  137. Kevin SW MI

    The United States Bill of Right and our constitution is for Americans, Only Jack! I see no legal reason for illegals to be a part of anything paid for by USA taxpayer.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  138. Judith, NY

    Who we as Americans? To be so cold and angry. Insurance for all should be our concern. We voted for change so get with the program! Should someone die because they are not citizens? Some people are more concerned with the torture of animals than helping people.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  139. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    It seems the same answer applies to all of our immigration problems–it is time to enforce the laws that we already have on the books. Illegal aliens shouldn't have free health care–neither should they be working in this country without the proper credentials. The American Government and its immigration authorities and enforcers need to get on the same page and start enforcing our laws.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  140. Gary - Woodhave, Michigan

    Health care reform is not the place to do anything about illegal aliens.

    If we cannot as a society and culture maintain our virtues of compassion and empathy, and if we must hold back that compassion our of greed, then I may myself become an illegal alien in Canada.

    I am willing to have my taxes be spent on emergency care for all, and explore other means to address the illegal alien issue.

    Remember Jack, unless you are Native American we were all once illegal aliens, it just so happened our illegal alien ancestors set up the rules.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  141. Ralph Nelson

    Illegals here get health care through Medicaid. It would be nice to bar them from coverage but than you run the risk of spreading illnesses like TB to the insured population. Better to put the burdened of hiring illegals on employers and look out for the public health (illegals and legals). They would have to pay into the system too, wouldn't they? Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  142. Bertha in SC

    The first question is who is here illegally. During the next US census, people should have to present a birth certificate to prove that they are US citizens. Form a data base on this. Those who are illegal should be given a specific time limit to become a citizen or they have to leave the country. We tax payers are paying for health care, illegals are taking many jobs away from our citizens, and we probably have illegals in jail that we're supporting. I realize that some illegals have had children in the US which makes them citizens, but if the parents will not do what is necessary to become citizens, then they are to blame if they have to leave. If illegals want what Americans have, they should become American citizens and pay taxes like everyone else.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  143. Michael in florida

    you know, I am not pleased with basic services offered thru our emergency rooms, BUT if it is a true emergency I think it is basic human kindness to help someone. I happen to work with many Mexicans who come into America because they can help support thier families better with American wages. Trust me, they do NOT want handouts or our charity. All they want is to better their lives doing jobs the American people no longer wish to do (at leats at this point in time)

    August 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  144. Kay Collette

    I don't believe we should turn away illegals or their children but if they are employed or the children of employed people, their employers should be billed. If they are not employed, their countries of origin should be made to pay. Injury and illness are no respecters of borders, and illness spreads as easily to citizens as to illegals.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  145. Mary Texas

    Perhaps we should ask Canada or the UK how they handle some of these problems and by the way could someone please explain why we are the only ones still without universal healthcare. We do not have the best healthcare in the world. Why do we allow the opposition to keep on saying so..I believe we rank about 37th which is really emmbarassing .

    August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  146. Courtlan, Savannah GA

    Obama and the Democrats want illegal aliens to be covered under the health care bill so that they can secure the Latino vote in future elections.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  147. John Abrams

    The government should modify the bill so that illegal aliens cannot receive free health care...except for emergency services. If they can pay for it out of their own pocket, then they should be able to get health care. If they cannot, then too bad for them.

    Before a medical service (other than emergency) is rendered to a patient, the patient should prove their legal American citizenship with a government document.

    America is a nation of immigrants who came here legally; allowing illegal immigrants to get coverage would be a mockery to the efforts of all legal immigrants, would be unethical, and would be put on the backs of taxpayers.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  148. Gregory Miami Beach, FL.

    If The U.S. were to acknowledge illegals in the healthcare bill it would be a rallying cry for more to come over the border. I know however that we must be humane about this mess we're in. I would propose a tax on all money sent via bank transfers or western union from the U.S. to Mexico and use these funds to offset health costs. Another way is to force companies that use illegals to cover health costs. There has got to be a hundred different ways to take care of this problem without costing Americans a dime!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  149. Dee, Lincoln, NE

    Hospitals, clinics, doctors, any health care provider, should be able to check for citizenship status. People who are not "lawfully present" in the U.S. should have to pay real money for their care as well as for their children. If we ever get around to immigration reform in this country, this issue should be addressed specifically, as well as now, in what I hope will be a real health insurance reform bill, that must include a public option. The days of free anything for "unlawfully present" people have, in my opinion, come to an end. Perhaps "unlawfully present" people could be encouraged to buy their own health insurance. I'll bet we could find one of the insurance companies who would be willing to insure "unlawfully present" people!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  150. Bill in San Antonio, Texas


    President Obama has already stated publicly that he intends to cover the children of illegal aliens with taxpayer funded health care. That will be the proverbial camel's nose under the tent. Does anyone believe for a moment that won't be extended to their parents?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  151. m armstrong texas

    How about this idea the medical establisment do the same thing they do to leagle Americans the clinics refuse medical treatment .

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  152. Dave

    The key word is illegal why should taxpayer pay for them just give them enough to send them back to their country.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  153. mark in tacoma wa.

    If they get a green card and pay taxes into a public plan then let's care for them. That assumes we ever come up with a public plan. A lot of my fellow citizens seem to lack empathy Jack. We treat prisoners and even our enemies in battle in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Why so much anger towards illegals? What doctor or nurse with any conscience would let anyone, citizen or not, suffer or even die?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  154. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Illegals always seem to be capable of coming up with money to pay to smugglers to cross our border illegally be when it comes to anything else they act as if they can't pay, they are just a bunch of moochers plain and simple! Put them in a tent city for four months and then send them home after they serve their time in jail!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  155. Roberta (Princeton, NJ)

    Jack, I think we've let the immigration issue go way too far if we need to consider it in the reform plan for our nation's healthcare. Healthcare reform isn't the appropriate platform for this issue, it's immigration! Instead of resolving the issue, we're just rolling it into the avalanche of another problem. Enough of these lightweights in Washington who don't want to deal with the hard issues.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  156. Cindy

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I live in the Southwest . We are already supporting illegal children here. We are educating these children. Our new school season has just began on August 17. These children do not know the english language. We have english as second language classes. The citizens children are not offered secondary languages of spanish, french at the same age these children receive, by the time these children are out of our educational system they are fluent in both english and spanish, Also I would like to thank Governor Richardson and Charles Hayes for cutting out the gifted programs.We are laying off our teachers here, however, New Mexico has gone abroad to hire five teachers from the Philippines for math and science, Math and Sciences are not considered important enough here to require but one math and scince curriculum course through highschool, we are already paying for illegal children,

    Also, when filing my childrens information packets for school. If parents do not have Social Sec # (Illegals)? They can still receive free lunches and medical care!! I am so angry!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  157. Neil Hilliker, Rochester, NY

    Health care reform could address the issue of illegal aliens by reporting them to immigration officials when they are admitted to the ER for treatment. This could cut down on the number of illegal aliens and make it harder for them to live here if they don't go through the process of being here legally.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  158. Sharon Ferrigno

    I believe it is incorrect to say that illegals don't pay taxes. At the very least, they pay local and state sales taxes on their purchases. Also, there are many who work on the books, (and I have no idea how many are in this group), whose employers do pay social security and medicare taxes for them. And, as long as they stay illegal, this is money the government never gives back to them when they reach retirement age. Hence, more for us.

    It is very sad to hear Americans saying we should deny people medical care. We used to be a kind-hearted nation.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  159. John F

    Just watched your show and can tell you for a fact that we are getting killed by people with Visa's coming here to have their children in our hospitals for free. I work at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey and see hundreds of new mothers on visa's leaving this country with infants and young children who have American pass ports every day. This is especially true of Indonisians who seem to have taken over this country. It has to stop and no health care bill should be approved that will allow it to continue.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  160. rubin rabinowitz

    I wouldn't worry about health care for illegals,they are not going to get anything out of this reform.Neither will anyone else for that matter except for the insurance and drug companies who paid millions to get their way from from the namby-pambys in the White House and Congress. This may be the greatest betrayal of the American public in our history by the alleged party of the people,the Democratic Party and
    its ineffective gutless leaders. Hey, is there anyone around to vote for who is not owned by some K Street outfit ?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  161. Anthony Peterson

    Send the immigrants back when its most urgent to do so. But I draw the line when we have to decide who to educate and who should receive health care. My mother is the first generation to attend college. We have 200 years of traceable history in Virginia. I don't see where denying education and health care improves anyones standing. Educate and treat them, but when its time to send them (immigrants) back, do it.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  162. Olivia, Atlanta

    If you believe that healthcare is a benefit and not a human right then no illegal immigrant should enjoy the benefits of a healthcare reform. However, it is a myth that all illegals do not pay taxes, a great portion do it- they even pay income taxes. It is also a myth that illegals do not pay their medical bills, most do pay their medical bills for routine care with the exception of those catastrophic costs -in which case they are not different than Americans or legals bankrupted by medical bills. Various studies have also found that illegal immigrants use in average less medical care than Americans for different reasons. Finally, if healthcare is and should be a human right all sick should be treated irrespective of the migration status. It is the right thing to do. Simple ask yourselves what will Jesus do? No need to answer.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  163. Jack Dempsey

    Jack, health care reform shouldn't deal with illegal aliens at all. Homeland Security and the U. S. Border Patrol should. We should take those medical care cost out of thier budgets. Then maybe they would do there jobs. Jack from Nice, Ca.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  164. Anna DeBlasis

    Food stamps, they walk in and get them .. I`m 62yr and I can`t get any thing ! I was told I was a gray area. I don`t care if we help people that need it.... but.... can`t we help Americans that were born in this country first? first we paid taxes in this country our whole life and when we need a little help .. nothing.. O but don`t leave out the Indians from India , that come here they get free medical cards I don`t have one, but then America is not for Americans any more/ our crys fall on deff ears and have for years ! This down hill slide is only just picking up momentum... this is not going to end !! Our leaders won`t be happy untill we`re a 3 world country just like the rest of the world.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  165. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    This is a clear cut case where an ounce of “prevention” equals a pound of cure. Prevent the illegal aliens from crossing the border in the first place and you’ve cured the problem.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  166. john aldridge

    There should not be any type of health care (except extreme emergency). for any illegal aliens. Add to that all schooling, free food,
    welfare help of any kind should not be available as well. Another important factor would be to stay out of the social security funds.

    Bloomington, Illinois

    August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  167. Kim - Atlanta, GA

    I don't understand why Jack says illegal aliens don't pay taxes. Is he saying some do but some don't? That's true of legal residents and citizens too. Correct me if I'm wrong but many illegals work and get paid by possessing identification that do not belong to them. They pay federal and state payroll taxes, sales tax, property tax (b/c if they rent, part of that money goes toward property tax). Unless they get paid in cash and don't report the income, I don't see how an illegal alien who holds down a job contributes less than I do.

    I don't know if or how health care reform should address the issue of illegal aliens but I do know this. At least those people have the option of saving up money and going back to countries where they can at least afford health care. I'm a U.S. citizen and I'm more or less stuck here. Thanks to idiot Americans, it looks like we might get watered down reform when we need a real overhaul.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  168. Adele Matthews

    Free health care should not be given to ANY person, or persons, who are not legal citizens of the good old U. S. of A. Neither should any of the other services that we legal citizens enjoy! A Native Texan

    August 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  169. David Grant

    I underestand that this is a sensitive issue so I'll make this real simple. Charge Mexico beause clearly their government is standing by idly watching the demise of ours. It's time to get real about this. If you don't want to deport the people then deport the bill".

    August 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  170. J McMahon

    This is my first ever blog response.
    Illegals should not be rewarded for breaking our nation's laws.

    This is the first time I have heard a news station bring up the topic.
    I am confident that the liberal democrats are hoping to keep this little secret and what it actually costs out of the mainstream discussion.

    Because it has a major impact on costs and flies in the face of what we law abiding, hard working Americans consider fair.

    And Democrats wouldn't want to lose any votes in the process either.

    We the above will be watching more closely what our Administration is doing as opposed to what it is saying.

    Thank you for your time and energy....

    August 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  171. David MacKinnon

    Before I begin you shouldn't worry about guys like me – I have out of country coverage :).

    The issue of illegal aliens is an enormous one in your country but health care reform won't solve it. I expect you will continue treating these people the way you always have – for free.

    Don't let the question of illegal aliens become a distraction. Focus on how reform will happen and how it will be funded. You should also ask yourselves quesions like where you're going to find the additional medical professionals to treat the 40+ million folks who aren't covered now but will be covered tomorrow.

    Solve the problem of illegal aliens and the health care impact goes away.

    David MacKinnon
    Kingston, Ontario

    August 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  172. Henry

    Cough, cough! A-a-a-choo! Anyone for H1N1? How about tuberculosis? Is it more cost effective to treat undocumented aliens, or to just let them die and take us along in the process? It's one of those rare situations in which economics and compassion agree.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  173. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    I believe that health care reform should not include illegals. Immigration reform is a different issue. Healthcare reform is a civil issue and governed by civil law. Taking care of illegals is a moral issue., and is being addressed as such,by so few. Gene

    August 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  174. Bill in San Antonio, Texas


    I emailed my Hispanic Congressman many months ago and asked if he supports government health care for illegal aliens. NO RESPONSE! Jack, what do you suppose that means?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  175. Mark (from new york)

    There are 2 types of illegal aliens. Those who're relatives of citizens but here in the US yet waiting to be processed while having no immigration status at the moment and the people that just jump our borders and steal our jobs. Just make everyone needing medical care have to flash their status and deny free medical care to the truly illegal aliens. Infact put them in jail instead and ship em back to their home countries. Cheaper than the medical aid Jack.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  176. Ted Beaverton, OR

    We should deal with it as Australia does. If you are not a citizen, you don't get service. There's a reason it's called National. Other countries with healthcare plans are the same or very similar, or only in cases of life threatening illnesses. Then the patient pays out of the same pocket they "pay their taxes" from.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  177. Mary from Meridian Idaho

    Okay, let's try this as a solution for healthcare for all Americans and even illegal immigrants (until we can get that fixed).....Have the Feds run a Health Care Lottery, proceeds to fund all that is not currently funded....the over $250,000 folks and most of the conservatives I know here in Idaho would go for that idea!
    Mary B
    Meridian, Idaho

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  178. Dean

    If illegal immigrants were given heath care benifts, they could be documented and processed. Then they could apply for citizenship. As they all should be allowed if they have already been here and working. So they can pay taxes and be immunized and take part in the great American dream just as the rest of us do. Because remember, the majority of us have parents, grandparents or great grandparents that came from all parts of this world and not all went through immigration legitimately or were political considered refugees.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  179. Nancy, Tennessee

    Illegals keep our emergency rooms busy, put a burden on city and state governments and we continue to just ignore the problem. When someone in Washington understands the magnitude of the problem, then maybe they will start dealing with it. The illegals need to be deported. If their children were born here, they can go with their parents back to Mexico or be turned over to Child Protective Services. The United States has too many rules that people take advantage of and its time it stopped.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  180. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio


    This is a very tough issue because it is a decision between fiscal and moral responsibility.

    This is a decision that is truly above my pay grade but if I have to decide I will take the moral high road.

    Also what should be done about the 5 million, or so, that will remain uninsured under the plans being considered now?

    August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  181. Dave F

    I believe that the companies that are hiring these people should be mandated to provide them with health insurance. After they go through the proper channels to become citizens I as an American will be than happy to provide them with health insurance. Remember the children are innocent.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  182. jim, Lake In The Hills, Illinois

    I saw a news interview of a women from Mexico who walked across the border and gave birth to a child in a US clinic. She said she did this because the rooms are cleaner, the staff is better equipped and more knowledgeable and it won't cost her a paso. They may be illegal aliens but their not stupid. Maybe we illegal citizens should try this.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  183. Pat Irvine

    It has always been "politically incorrect" to address any part of the illegal immigration issue.
    The word, ILLEGAL should say it all but we have to say "undocumented."
    The point is that too often American citizens have to defer to illegals.
    California is broke and still paying out billions each year for services for illegals.
    How about giving the problems to Mexico. Pres. Obama is given ultimatums by the groups advocating amnesty.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  184. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    If i owned a hospital, they would be walked right out the door that they came through, i am sick and tired of working so hard and never being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor, because America what to be everyones public aid state! I am going broke, so it is time that they go home!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  185. Thomas Wayne

    They get sick, we get sick. Do any of the idiots posting hateful comments about illegal aliens think that the swine flu virus knows the difference? Our health depends on everyone else's access to immunization and healthcare.
    San Francisco

    August 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  186. jerry

    Seems to me that if the existing laws regarding illegal aliens were enforced we would eliminate the overspending on healthcare and other in appropriate items. Aparrently fining businesses for hiring illegals is to touchey for our lazt congress to handle. If these people were not employed they would have to leave and other legals could do thevacated jobs.. Solvese lots of problems

    August 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  187. Yvonne

    Ilegals and Healthcare, other than what it says now, should not be Addressed in the healthcare bill.

    Illegals are what the Immegration Department is supposed to take care of, which they have NOT done in the past eight years.

    Saying that, I do not believe we should turn them away as they are individuals wanting to better their lives.


    August 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  188. brian (Nova Scotia)

    I am very confused. The United States is likely the most Christian nation on the planet. No other country has given so much to so many others in times of need. It is inconceivable to me that such a generous people such as our American Cousins could consider turning away 6 million 'Illegals' and their children. To say nothing about the 47 million of your own citizens who are unable to get affordable health care. I have every confidence you will sort this out , I only hope it can be done so while perserving the values America believes it stand for.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  189. Helen

    No. But wouldn't they be rejected anyway when people start apply for the health care? They should reject them first so there wouldn't be any futile collision. Do it like financial aid for college students; they reject those people and less aid for those who don't pay taxes.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  190. Edyth from Brandon, Florida

    Illegal aliens shouldn't get anything out of the health care bill since they already get a free ride from the present system. The reason they're not mentioned in the health care bill in the first place is because certain 'people', namely the business and political communities, can't live without 'slave' labor to rail against or employ to feather their own nests.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  191. felice a manzi

    Give them two aspirins and send them home!!!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  192. Phil


    It's an accepted subculture in the United States to work the "system" to get something free. This applies to both US citizens and non-citizens.

    The working stiffs who pay compulsory taxes get the shaft everytime.

    This political line about getting the rich to pay more is phony. They have their tax lawyers to work the deductions angle.

    The working stiffs who pay compulsory taxes get the shaft everytime.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  193. Fred May Sr Spanaway WA.

    Treat their problem. Put on a bus or plane and send them back to where they come from.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  194. Robert Barr

    Hello im Robert Barr and i`m 16 years old I have been following all the reports on health care. I beleave that all people have the rights to all health care in this great country that we can give them, iegal or illegal they have rights but hospital should find out if they are illegal so that they can inform proper officials so they can escort them back to there country and lower health cost for hard working iegal Americans.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  195. Grant

    Illegal aliens should not be provided with US taxpayer subsidized health care. Period.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  196. John Wiseman

    If you were a doctor what would you do if a hispanic child came into the emergency with acute appendicitis? Would you send him/her away?
    It's not an easy answer Jack.
    I don't like paying for illegals but I could not turn this child away.

    John W.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  197. Jon Auer

    I have traveld extenively in Mexico and have gotten sick in Mexico City. I was asked by the staff before I was scene, how will I pay sense I am not a Citizen!!!!!!......so, whats fair is fair I believe.

    They are not US Citizens, so I would say absolutely not.

    Now, If Mexico would like to contribute a few Millions of Dollars, then maybe the Gov could make a program of limited care for them while they are here, but with with Mexican Money only, Not US Money.

    Otherwise...NO! No citizenship, no care.

    Jon in Nashville

    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  198. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Healthcare reform needs to state absolutely that illegal aliens will not receive any benefits and it has to put into place safeguards to make sure it doesn't happen. Hospitals must ask for identification every time someone comes for any kind of care and be diligent about it.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  199. Jennifer

    We shouldn't think about them unless it is figuring out what to do about them being here illegally in the first place!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  200. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Yes, by sending them home once and for all, if they come back put those felons in federal prison for ten years! As long as their is not a negative effect because they are breaking our laws, they will continue to break them, and laugh in our faces each and everyday, while they get benefits that our own citizens can not even get!!

    Either they go home or they go to prison for ten years hard labor!

    August 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  201. D..D.


    Not much..
    As a moral society, we are ethically obligated to treat ANYONE–irrespective of immigration status–in need of medical care.

    Yes, unpaid hospital bills do drive up the cost for those of us who pay. However, I for one, can see no way in which we can do otherwise than treat those who need urgent care: After all, we are talking about human beings, not items on a shelf. .So, irrespective of immigration or economic status, we need to treat everyone in need of medical help.

    So, yeah, it costs money, but I figure it's worth a few bucks to sleep at night.


    August 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  202. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Jack the answer is to deport deport and deport they dont belong here so send them home.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  203. Linda from Florida

    Americans and legal aliens should not have to pay for healthcare of persons who are here illegally. If American citizens get care, but have no insurance, they are hounded by the hospital or doctor until they pay their bill. Illegal aliens should have to pay for their care as well. Here are several ways to make them pay: 1) Hospitals should be able to make copies of illegal aliens' drivers licenses and social security cards so that they can send them a bill and/or put a lien on their property or salaries, 2) Make them work for the hospital on a part time basis until they pay for their treatment ( in the case of children, parents can work to pay for for their child's treatment)., 3) Bill the country of origin. For example, the government can bill Mexico for all medical expenses incurred by illegal Mexicans in this country in 2009. Mexico can repay us in dollars or we can deduct the amount from any foreign aid that we had planned to send them.

    August 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm |