Patient says, “Doctor, whenever I drink coffee, I have a stabbing pain in my eye.” Doctor says, “Lady, take out the spoon before you drink.”

Identifying obvious problems and dispensing common sense solutions is never the first instinct of Washington lawmakers. Our current health care reform debate – 2074 pages long – is no exception. Lost in detail, and guided by special interests, lawmakers have either forgotten or deliberately avoided asking a fundamental question that most Americans want answered: “why are there so many uninsured and who are they?” (continued in full entry)

Immigration is a major factor but this is an ignorable truth for those who want only to treat the symptom. More than one third of the uninsured in the U.S. are immigrants (legal and illegal). That same population constitutes almost half of the uninsured in California and 40% in Texas. This should be no surprise. The March 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) reveals that 23% of the 21 million non-citizens in the U.S. were below the 100% threshold of the federal poverty level.

President Obama and key congressional leaders claim their health care bill will decrease costs and increase accessibility for 36 million uninsured in America. That remains inconclusive but what is incontrovertible – and terribly inconvenient to include in the sales pitch – is that a staggering portion of immigrants will benefit from a nationalized health care plan. It is not hard, then, to conclude that the health care reform bill is really a massive bailout for years of irresponsible immigration policy as much as it is a bill to improve health care. Truth in labeling would dictate that the Senate Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) would be more accurately described as the Immigrant Health Care Bill.

Lack of sensible controls led to the mortgage and banking crisis and subsequent bailouts; similarly, the crushing national debt has now arisen from years of poor choices about whom and how many we’ve been admitting into the U.S. For decades, the government has not only been turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, importing millions of guest workers, but has also been fast stamping the green cards of ever increasing numbers of the world’s least skilled, least educated and most heavily government dependent. The bulk of America’s legal immigrants are admitted simply because they have a relative here, not because they offer substantive skills or self reliance, common sense criteria to which most industrialized countries adhere. Sixty-nine percent of legal immigrants come to the U.S with no reported profession, occupation or job, and on average, a 9th grade education. The result has been the establishment of a permanent underclass of ill-equipped low-wage workers who pad the pockets of business but who ultimately consume more than they contribute and require public subsidies to survive.

Yes, we’re all getting our lawn mowed, but the one trillion dollar health care reform bill – one third of which will subsidize indigent immigrants – doesn’t really make cheap labor sound like much of a bargain anymore, not that it ever was. The gain has always been privatized and the cost socialized.

Of course, to blame legal immigrants is to miss the point. They’re simply acting rationally, capitalizing on an immigration system that favors employers who profit from cheap immigrant labor. Rather, the blame rests with politicians who ignored the needs of the American worker-taxpayer and instead pandered to a constituency of cheap labor, powerful ethno-centric special interests, and Democratic party leaders wanting to increase the electorate of the needy to create instant voters. The result has been a flood of cheap foreign competition into the job markets, uninsured patients burdening hospitals, limited English proficiency students lowering educational standards in public schools and criminal aliens crowding jails.

But perhaps more prudent policies are right around the corner! After all, the same politicians whose immigration policy malfeasance created the mess are now asking America to pick up the tab for the Immigrant Health Care Bill. Surely they must be committed to avoiding the mistakes of the past.

Not even close.

At the same time this Congress is plotting how to beg, borrow and steal from the American taxpayer to subsidize immigrant health care it is simultaneously preparing the stage for a massive amnesty bill. Its impact will only perpetuate the endless cycle of chaos and exacerbate a sociological triage for resources. Special interest influences have such a stranglehold on our immigration system that not even teetering of the edge of financial meltdown appears to dissuade lawmakers from continuing self-destructive behavior.

Lowering levels of immigration and sensibly managing skilled based flows are the solutions. American workers at the lower end of the economic ladder would have less competition for jobs and see their wages rise while new immigrants would use their skills to sustain their own needs. With an unemployment rate of 10.2%, fierce competition for jobs, a continuing mortgage crisis and no end in sight to further government spending and entitlement mentality, we could all use some breathing room.

In the short run, Americans must demand that the final Senate version of the health care bill rectify immigration related problems in the House bill. Meaningful verification, closing Exchange access to illegal aliens, and maintaining the longstanding 5 year waiting period for federal benefits for most legal immigrants must be part of the package.

But the broader problems will remain and grow worse in the absence of true immigration reform that emphasizes enforcement and a reduction of the numbers. And an amnesty bill is simply out the question. The Immigrant Health Care Bill, if passed, must be a reminder that our current immigration system must vitalize our economy, not burden it.

As Thoreau said, it takes two to speak the truth – one to speak, the other to hear. Is there any one listening?