Right-Wing Congressman Suddenly Embraces A Health Care Mandate…For Immigrants

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, suggested, during an immigration hearing on Tuesday, that American farmers should be required to provide health care coverage to temporary workers.

Speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, Gohmert raised concerns about immigrants benefiting from tax-payer funded health care programs and argued that farmers who seek to hire temporary immigrant labor must provide health care coverage to their employees, thus preventing them from relying on federal or state benefits:

GOHMERT: You know, as we hear farmers and apparently it is essential that they have immigrant workers come in, harvest crops. We’ve heard that over and over. Would any of you have any problem with saying okay, you want to bring in temporary workers to harvest your crop, then you need an umbrella health insurance policy that covers the people that you’re bringing in to work temporarily? […] Would anybody be offended by a requirement that an employer, to bring in temporary workers, provide an umbrella, health insurance policy?

Significantly, the immigration framework put forward by a bipartisan group of 8 senators and President Obama’s principles for reform specify that undocumented individuals would not be eligible for government benefits or subsidies under the Affordable Care Act until they qualify for permanent residency.