White House hopeful and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on Friday expressed support for extending healthcare access to illegal aliens after granting them amnesty in his remarks before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference.
A partial transcript is as follows:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Latinos have made some gains in obtaining healthcare coverage under the Affordable Healthcare Act, yet continue to remain more likely to be uninsured than other groups. Having access to healthcare insurance can make the difference between life and death as Latinos decide whether to get medical care when they need it. A recent poll by the NALEO Education Fund of Latino registered voters found this issue is one of their top concerns. If you’re elected president, how will you address healthcare policy that will provide more access to medical coverage and quality care, while addressing the rise in healthcare costs?
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER: In Colorado, we got to almost universal coverage. I would go beyond what we have in Colorado because we do need to recognize that health care is a right and not a privilege. We proposed a public option, a combination of Medicare and Medicare Advantage, as the best practice there. If done properly, it will provide an opportunity for those people who can’t afford private insurance on exchanges or they have a preexisting condition that prohibits them … This public option would allow them to get and be able to afford private insurance … Ultimately, in ten or 15 years, we could end up with Medicare for All.
MODERATOR VANESSA HAUC: Would you consider including the 11 million undocumented immigrants in that insurance?
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER: I think this country has for a long time recognized that health care is a vital part of our culture. When we train our doctors, they are instructed that they make sure to take care of all people. Doesn’t matter if you are documented or not. I don’t know if we’re ready to provide full health care to 11 million undocumented workers yet because we haven’t provided it to all of our own people. But once you get to comprehensive immigration reform, and we get a system that finally works by recognizing that we have seven and a half million unfilled jobs and only 6.3 million people looking, we need every worker we can get. Then absolutely, once we’re in balance, that would be the next step.