and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Thursday, January 10, 2006

Memo to the Legislature
Re:  Illegal Immigrants, and Health Care Reform

To:  Members of the General Court
        January 10, 2006
Re:  Illegal Immigrants, and Health Care Reform

Why did the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation decide to suddenly jump in to support taxpayer-subsidized higher education for illegal immigrants?

We must ask again, what part of "illegal" do some people not understand?

Students can get in-state tuition rates when they are Massachusetts, United States citizens. What is the hurry? Lots of young people wait a few years to enter college after they complete high school. Immigrants who obey the rules should be welcome here; the others should not get taxpayer subsidies for themselves or their children.

What you subsidize, you get more of; that is how any possible revenue enhancement from illegals’ tuition becomes a long-term drain on the state treasury. Illegals already cost taxpayers for pre-college education, and for health care in the emergency rooms.

Citizens for Limited Taxation also opposes the new taxes of an employee mandate for required health insurance for all. If we are doing health care reform, let’s get away from the anachronistic concept that ties our insurance to our place of work.

If the government wants universal health insurance, it should fund it with a tax exemption for individuals, who would be required to purchase their own basic health insurance policy with pre-tax dollars. This would have to be done at the federal level of course, and funded by removing the present federal exemption for employer-provided health insurance.

Massachusetts government could itself create a tax exemption to help individuals buy their own insurance, but likely prefers "benefit without cost" to itself . The state should at least "first do no harm" while trying to address the current health care problem. Unless it’s willing to give up some of its own revenue to help us all buy coverage, it shouldn’t expect businesses to sacrifice for government’s social goal. Businesses are busy competing to provide jobs and services – their combined true benefit to the commonwealth, creating all its revenues.

Required personal insurance would at least remind us all that health care isn’t free and never was, and that recipients should contribute what they can toward the cost. Public employees should contribute the same average percentage as private sector employees. The state should stop mandating new coverage (there’s a pending bill for hearing aids?!) and allow more choice in various levels of coverage to consumers. To further support the concept of personal responsibility, the outrageous nursing home tax on self-payers should be repealed. Taxing people for NOT going on Medicaid sends a very wrong message.

Taking the easy way out by raising taxes simply delays honest, essential reform – which has to include discouraging the illegal immigration that increases our total health costs.

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