As I pointed out in my speech post-write this morning, President Obama claimed last night that forcing healthy young people to buy insurance is critical because otherwise it "costs all the rest of us money," in that "we pay for those people's expensive emergency room visits." At the same time, he insisted–not very convincingly–that "the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." Any rumors to the contrary, the president asserted, are "false." (Damn those rumor-mongering bastards at the Congressional Research Service!)
Stepping aside from the welfare-for-illegals debate (which is what animates most interest in the topic), my question is this: If the government is coercing John and Jane Healthy to buy insurance so that the rest of us have to pay less money for their emergency room visits, on what planet does the same argument not apply to Juan y Juana Undocumento? (Or, if you prefer the real reason for forced insurance-buying, why should only the documented uninsured cross-subsidize their elders?) If we're really going to penalize twentysomethings for not buying insurance–and recall that as a candidate, back when he opposed Hillary Clinton's mandatory insurance plan, Obama said "To force people to get health insurance, you've got to have a very harsh penalty"–doesn't this mean that illegal residents will essentially enjoy an exemption from state sanction?