Monday, August 24, 2009

How nationalized health care victimizes immigrants.

Evangeline Stanner is a victim of nationalized health care. As is her husband and two children.

Evangeline, 35, was born in the Philippines. She is married to Richard Stanner of New Zealand. The couple, who met over the internet, have been married since 2006, together they have two children, a two-year-old and a six-month old infant.

After her marriage in 2006 Evangeline was given a work permit in New Zealand so she could be with her husband. That work permit was renewed twice but is due to expire in January. You would think that as the legally married spouse of a Kiwi that she'd be able to stay in New Zealand. And Kiwis are allowed to sponsor their spouses for citizenship—something Evangeline and Richard have put into motion.

But the Stanners were told that Evangeline must leave her home, her husband and her children and return to the Philippines. Evangeline says: "Immigration is tearing our family apart." But she is wrong. It isn't actually immigration that is doing it, it is nationalized health care.

Evageline's only crime was that she got sick. New Zealand has a nationalized health care system and immigrants are not allowed into the country if they might impose costs on the system. It doesn't matter that Evangeline only became ill while in New Zealand. Immigrants are allowed in provided they fund the system, as Evangeline did with the taxes she paid from employment, but they must not collect from the system into which they are forced to pay. Their only purpose is to keep the system funded for aging Kiwis who don't have private insurance, thanks to the crowding out that happens when government provides this care.

During her first pregnancy, with son Josh, she developed a slight kidney problem. With the birth of her second child the condition became much more severe. Her application as the mother of two Kiwi children was scrutinized by medical bureaucrats who wrote her "that you do not meet the acceptable standard of health... on the basis that you are likely to impose significiant costs or demands on New Zealand's health services."

Evangeline has until January 10th to be with her children and then she will be exiled for the crime of being ill.

Immigrants going into New Zealand are taxed for the health care system. Many immigrants simply can't afford to purchase private insurance on top of the heavy taxes they pay for the "free health care" which they better not use. So, if they use the national health system they may end up getting deported, but they can't purchase private care either since the national health system eats up a good portion of their income. Its a case of damned if your well, double damned if your sick.

On top of kidney problems Evangeline has to cope with the stress of being exiled from her husband and children just so the illusion that "nationalized" health care is cheap can be kept alive.

Evangeline, and other immigrants, are not allowed to forgo the nationalized health system, the purpose of such a system is to guarantee "equality" not improve people's lives. So while many would find a better life in New Zealand, even without the socialized health care, they aren't allowed to have it. That would undermine the real principle at work, equality of outcome. So to pretend that the system grants equal access to health care, anyone who might get sick is deported.

You will also find that older people are also routinely discriminated against by New Zealand Immigration, even if those people are quite capable of funding their own health insurance. The system is set up so that nationalized health care trumps everything so anyone who could conceivable use that care is forbidden from moving to New Zealand.

Oddly this has nothing to do with a Kiwi fear of people taking advantage of the welfare state. People can immigrate and join the welfare rolls, that isn't the problem. The problem is that health care is a more precarious situation. Most Kiwis will never be on welfare, so the government can tax them to pay for those people who are on the system. But everyone eventually needs health care and the Kiwi system, like all socialized systems is costly with demand exceeding supply. So anything that strains this already over-strained system has to be cut out.

The result is the rationing which I have spoke about on numerous ocassions. Some medines simply are forbidden. Some procedures are simply banned. Hospital beds are rationed, as are doctors and health care in general. And, some people are simply banned from having health care. If you ban enough people then you can offer "universal health coverage" albeit not very honestly.

Evangeline Stanner had the misfortune of becoming ill under nationalized health care before her residency was approved. So, for that, she will be deported. Chances are also good that she will die in the Philippines because of her illness. She did pay into the health system for three years, her husband paid in for his entire life, but under socialized health care rationing takes place. Nameless bureaucrats decided where to draw lines over who is, or isn't allowed to have care. They drew the line and Evangeline was on the wrong side of it.

Of course, it is possible that lots of negative publicity will ge the politicians to step in and change the ruling. But that won't change the system. All it will mean is that lots of other people, good people who won't get the publicity, will still be excluded because the national health system is only looking for immigrants that can be plundered, not immigrants who may need health care.

In a rational immigration system health, in the sense of communicable diseases, may be an issue. But Evangeline posed no threat to the health of others. I would suggest her presence, with her children, would lessen risks they may have in life. But she was a "liability" not an "asset" to a system that she had no choice in joining.

National health care systems impact on freedom in more ways than meet the eye. It won't just be the reduction of freedom of choice in medical care, and it won't be just a reduction in the amount of the wages you earned which you are allowed to keep. It will also mean greater restrictions on freedom of movement between countries. Nationalize health care makes it harder for would-be immigrants to find a better life. And that means that they, and everyone else, is made poorer because of it.

Under nationalized health care immigrants are an invisible victim of the system. Evangeline is one of those victims, albeit one that has managed to received some publicity.

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