SB44: Health care for “legal” immigrant children garners approval

Utah Senators gave their nod of approval yesterday for  SB44 Health Amendements for Legal Immigrant Children.  The bill would lift a 5 year waiting period for immigrant families to obtain health care for their children.

What is puzzling is the sentiment by adults towards children and tax paying workers.

Today’s Deseret News:

“These kids are kids, and they’re playing by the rules as best they can,” he[Sen. Chris Buttars R-West Jordan] reasoned. “So while I’m totally against illegals, these kids aren’t illegals.”

As if any children had control over their lives.

But while those kids might follow the rules, Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, who opposed the bill, said the five-year wait is there for a reason: Legal immigrants are expected to take care of themselves for that time.

“They need to play by the rules, the rules are set up, and you’re asking us to change the rules,” Christensen said.

Well, yes, because no human should be without health care and children in particular have no choice over their circumstances.  Legal or not, when someone needs health care they should be able to get it. Further, immigrants who have legal status pay taxes into our system and therefore should, without question, have access to, among other things, the health care system.

Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, bill sponsor says that this not about immigration:

SB44 isn’t about immigration, Robles said, but health care policy, and it opens access to preventative care that is more cost-efficient than letting problems grow until they end up in emergency rooms.

This is very sensible.  While it wouldn’t take effect until 2012, this bill is a giant step in the right direction for opening the health care access door for all.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

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