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Our over-reliance on memes is bad, and we should feel bad


For today's Annals of Bad Thinking, we present to you this wretched wreck of a column by Forbes contributor Chris Conover, titled "Because Of Obamacare, Illegal Immigrants Get Taxpayer-Financed Care." It's a pretty impressive bit of sputtering about a Wall Street Journal story which reveals that even though the Affordable Care Act explicitly bars any funding for undocumented immigrants, those damned illegals keep insisting on getting sick whether they have health insurance or not. As the WSJ piece explains, in quite a few places around the country, local governments have decided to cover at least some medical care for uninsured people regardless of their immigration status. Conover acknowledges there's no evidence that "anyone is explicitly violating this prohibition," but he is shocked, shocked, to realize that "because of Obamacare, more taxpayer resources at the state and local level are being spent on health care of illegal immigrants than would have been spent otherwise."

The horrifying reality, as Conover explains, is that since Obamacare now covers more poor and near-poor people, a lot of state and local governments aren't stuck with the bills for their healthcare. But instead of doing something sensible with the savings, like building a sportsball stadium or giving the money away in tax credits to industry, they're instead blowing their healthcare dollars on filthy immigrants who are taking our jobs. Conover seems quite frankly disgusted that Obamacare is actually saving local governments money, noting that "States and localities there [sic] save about $325 for each uninsured person who gains coverage as a result of the ACA." Then he does some math at us: Assuming that Barack Obama isn't a baldfaced liar when he says the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 20 million, then

Taken at face value, that would imply that state and local governments now have $650 million in additional resources to spend on illegal immigrants, whether it be for health care, education or anything else. We may never know the exact amount of such savings repurposed to provide health care to illegal immigrants. But it strains credulity to claim that the number is zero. So it should be beyond all doubt that the ACA has increased the amount of resources dedicated to health care of illegal immigrants -- the explicit legal prohibition against this notwithstanding.

That nasty, nasty Obama! Thanks to the savings on healthcare for the poors (who don't deserve it anyway), state and local governments might be spending every penny of the $650 million savings on illegal immigrants. Or on something else. Conover is a big fan of making shit up with numbers, as with his completely bogus 2013 estimate that Obamacare would cost the "average family of four" $7450 a year -- another number he pulled largely out of his ass by dividing the total estimated increase in healthcare spending by the U.S. population and then multiplying by potato.

Nonetheless, Conover is probably right: Since local governments are saving a bundle on healthcare for poor people, it is likely that some of them are spending some of their savings -- no, not the entire presumed $650 million -- on programs that don't demand Your Papers Please. Now, some of those programs predated the ACA, although Conover doesn't go into that. Undoubtedly, somewhere, some wetbacks are failing to die of preventable diseases, and YOUR TAX DOLLARS are keeping those dirty invaders alive. Couldn't they just die and reduce the surplus population?

Given this disgusting state of affairs, Conover says we should get rid of Obamacare (bet you didn't see that coming), because Local Control:

I believe a nation of 320 million people is much better off letting such resource allocation decisions be made at the state and local level rather than by federal taxpayers. That way people can vote with their feet if they don’t like the idea of their tax dollars being used to pay for people who have come to this nation illegally.

Only one small problem with that logic: As the WSJ piece already pointed out, the decisions about whether to provide healthcare to undocumented immigrants are already being made at the local level, by leaders whose logic is less muddy than Conover's:

County politicians figure it is cheaper, safer and easier to give basic health services to immigrants who can’t get insurance than to treat them only in the county’s emergency rooms.

“If federal programs exclude people who live here and get sick here, then someone has to care for them,” says George Leventhal, a Democratic council member who a decade ago started a local initiative to provide care to uninsured immigrants here in Montgomery County, Md., a suburb of Washington. “We all pay anyway.”

Oh, but if only that terrible Obamacare weren't saving the county money, then the sick illegals would go to the ER and the higher costs could be borne by ... somebody, but certainly not taxpayers, who in this case would magically not be affected by fungible costs.

Not content to have tortured logic this far, Conover closes by placing causality in yet another Stress Position. He's simply appalled by how Democrats went and passed Obamacare merely because they had a "very temporary supermajority" in Congress. Thanks to that sneaky move, he says, many Americans became so sick of government that they're now willing to vote for fascism:

The disturbing rise of Donald Trump cannot be laid at the feet of Obamacare alone, but the egregious manner in which Obamacare was enacted and has been too-often-lawlessly implemented certainly is an important illustration of why so many Americans feel that their elected representatives are simply not listening to them. It’s sad to think so many millions of Americans have consequently concluded we need to elect a high-school bully to fight back.

We were looking forward to the part where Conover blamed Obamacare for the Brussels terror attacks, but he's apparently saving that one for a future column.

[Forbes / WSJ]

Protip: If you're paywalled out of the WSJ piece, simply google the title, "Illegal Immigrants Get Public Health Care, Despite Federal Policy," and you should be able to read it. You're welcome!

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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