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Medicaid-Style Entitlements Being Stripped from Undocumented Immigrants in Brutal Turn

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There’s a grim satisfaction in witnessing a foolhardy plan crash and burn you know was doomed to failure.

And Illinois, despite the warnings of its Republican lawmakers, has fallen victim to one such failure.

As local news outlet WBEZ-FM reported last week, the state has announced it is rolling back health care benefits that were bestowed upon immigrants living in the state in 2020.

Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors is a Medicaid-style program funded by Illinois taxpayers for immigrants (those who entered the country illegally along with some green card holders) 65 and older.

The Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program expanded that aid to include people ages 42 to 64.

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According to WTTW-TV in Chicago, under these programs, low-income immigrants could qualify for subsidized health care instead of being disqualified based on their immigration status.

However, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker decided to roll back the programs significantly after their projected costs rose over $1 billion for 2024, the Chicago Tribune reported March 12.

The outlet said about 6,000 immigrants are set to lose their coverage under the new rules for the program, with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services beginning the redetermination process on April 1.

Among those set to lose this coverage are illegal immigrants and those with green cards who have been in the country for less than five years.

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The state Department of Healthcare and Family Services said those affected could apply for aid under the federal Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace.

“We propose to remove these people from the program because they are actually eligible for subsidies on the health insurance marketplace,” HFS Chief of Staff Dana Kelly told legislators on March 12, according to WBEZ.

Moreover, in addition to an enrollment “pause” for some immigrants in the next fiscal year, the state will cap enrollment at 16,500 seniors, and those in the program will be required to pay hospital copays of $100 to $250, WTTW reported.

Several Latino and Democratic lawmakers expressed their displeasure with the change after having advocated to expand those benefits to immigrants ages 19 to 42.

The problem was, however, that Illinois simply didn’t have the money or infrastructure to support the number of immigrants enrolled in the program, let alone expand it.

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As Republican state Sen. Dave Syverson said, warning about this very outcome, “If you’re the only state and the only country that says, ‘We’ll take the sickest of yours, send ’em to us,’ it will bankrupt our state.”

And now Pritzker, after lauding the program as an embodiment of his stated belief that health care is a human right, must face the embarrassment of admitting his effort is a failure.

That was something he really should have recognized back in 2020.

The Republican lawmakers warned him back then Illinois could not afford this, and they were right.

Moreover, a program to give out health care to illegal immigrants acted as a beacon drawing more of them to the state.

Pritzker has never been a conservative hero, but at least he had the good sense to recognize the original version of this program was unsustainable and would bankrupt his state if allowed to continue.

Unfortunately, Illinois has not been the only state to put out the welcome mat for illegal immigrants.

Our country is under invasion, and leftists, Democrats and progressives have been the ones largely behind it.

At least they can’t say no one warned them when this invasion inevitably blows up in their faces.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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