On the same day the United States Supreme Court gave its stamp of approval to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms, Swedish leaders said they planned to expand their national health coverage to illegal immigrants, reported The Local, an English-language newspaper in Sweden.
The measure, announced Thursday, would give full health benefits now enjoyed by Swedish children, including dental coverage and preventative care, to the children of undocumented immigrants. Adults would receive only “subsidized care for conditions that require urgent medical attention,” the newspaper reported. Currently, illegal immigrants aren’t entitled to subsidized Swedish healthcare, including emergency room visits.
In announcing the agreement, Social Affairs Minister Göran Hägglund used language that would likely amount to political suicide in this country: “Undocumented immigrants have a legal right to subsidized healthcare.”
The new policy was formulated between Sweden’s conservative governing coalition and the left-leaning Green Party after more than a year of political wrangling in Stockholm.
The Local quoted Green Party parliamentarian Maria Ferm as applauding the agreement:
“Children and adults are getting an extended right to healthcare and I want to say thank you that we are able to ensure an important step in human rights. The right to healthcare is a human right.”
In the U.S., the Supreme Court didn’t go as far as the Swedes and say that healthcare was a right. Instead, the court cited Congress’ power to tax as justification to let stand most of the Affordable Healthcare for America Act. For proponents of Obamacare, though, that was enough.