Now GOP Wants an Individual Mandate

... but only for undocumented immigrants

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted May 29, 2013 12:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – House Republicans drafting new immigration reforms are in talks over a rule that would require undocumented immigrants to buy their own health insurance before they can gain citizenship, reports Politico. It seems a surprising about-face from a party that has been so vehemently opposed to an individual mandate for citizens—but supporters say voters will understand that different rules should apply to non-citizens. "It's individual responsibility for these folks to earn their ability to stay in the United States, to work in the United States, and to be legalized in the United States, and a big part of that has to be that they’re not a public charge," says a Republican member of the House immigration group.

Other conservatives are not so sure. "It's totally reasonable to make sure you don’t expand the welfare state, but there’s no need to do that by imposing a discredited, Obama-style individual mandate,” says a Cato Institute spokesperson. "I think it's such a glaring and obvious contradiction that they’ll have to drop it." ObamaCare does not allow undocumented immigrants to receive any subsidies or Medicaid, but it also doesn't require them to have coverage. "You can't ask somebody to buy something they can't afford, then deny them the ability to get any help," says ObamaCare co-author Henry Waxman.

An immigrant at a naturalization ceremony.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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