Breaking News: Immigrants will be denied visas if they cannot prove they have health insurance or the ability to pay for medical care, the Trump administration saidhttps://t.co/3UX4ARLN11
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 5, 2019
This is obviously a smart reform, but what we really need is mandatory immigration insurance. Just as you’re not allowed to drive without auto insurance, you shouldn’t be allowed to immigrate without obtaining, say, $5 million in coverage for all the ways you can harm Americans.
Back in 2015, iSteve commenter Pittsburgh Thatcherite noted:
Some immigrants inflict large costs on a nation by heavily utilizing government services such as unemployment benefits, prisons, hospitals and schools. These dysfunctional immigrants reduce the quality of life in a nation by increasing crime and raising taxes. How can a nation protect itself from these costs?
Each immigrant should be required to purchase insurance from an insurer before they enter a nation.
Think of immigration as being like driving. If you are going to go hurtling about the landscape in a multiton projectile, it’s only fair to others that you demonstrate that you are able to pay for any damage you might do. Thus, practically every state requires car owners to have driver’s insurance or otherwise post bond in some kind of quasi-insurance system. (Similarly, Mexico famously forces American tourists to buy car insurance from a Mexican firm when driving across the border, with harsh penalties if this law is flouted.)
For driving, we’ve come up with a system that, while hardly perfect, at least compensates victims by financially penalizing (and thus deterring) bad driving. It’s a win-win solution.
And you can’t get affordable insurance if you are likely to maim somebody, so the system encourages the riskiest drivers to take the bus. (One of the more heartening conversations I’ve overheard recently was between two tattooed service workers taking a break to smoke out in front of a big-box store: The smarter-looking one was explaining to his lower-brow colleague that a single DUI would cost him $10,000 when he adds in the higher auto-insurance premiums.)
Similarly, immigration exposes Americans to all sorts of potential harms. It’s only reasonable that those who are more likely to injure Americans, whether directly or indirectly, should be charged higher premiums. As Pittsburgh Thatcherite explained:
Obviously, insurance would be more expensive for immigrants who are likely to be unemployed, commit crime, suffer from disease, and produce many children. Therefore, requiring that immigrants purchase insurance would ensure that immigrants are employed, law-abiding, healthy, and produce few children.
I’ve been looking for in-depth analyses of this notion, but I can’t find any discussion of the idea anywhere.
Compulsory car insurance didn’t always strike Americans as obvious either. Massachusetts was the first state to mandate it in 1927, but the Bay State’s politicians made such a hash of it for decades that nobody imitated it until New York came up with an improved version around 1957, after which the idea spread nationwide.