“Joe has handled it well,” he said. “The fact is, Joe Wilson was telling the truth. ... There’s a huge loophole that virtually guarantees that illegal immigrants would be covered.”
Michele ("Bat guano crazy") Bachmann.
The real issue is, will illegal aliens have access to taxpayer-subsidized health care? Well, the answer is yes, they will.
In other words, someone could walk into a Health and Human Services office and say, “I’d like to have free health care for me and my family.” And the Health and Human Services office wouldn’t have any ability to ask, “Are you a legal citizen of the United States?”
And Wilson himself? I've apologized enough.
Not enough for the Stupid you haven't.
Rep Wilson today on the Floor of the House - not so apologetic.
Ok, let's walk though this slowly for the terminally fact deficient.
As the non-partisan site Factcheck.org has documented the President was correct.
Obama said that his proposal would not cover illegal immigrants, a remark that prompted Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina to shout "You lie!"
Obama: There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
The president is correct: The House bill contains a section (Sec. 246) titled "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS," which states: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."
But Conservatives still say NO! because of a pair of additional anti-immigrant amendments which had been voted down in committee.
One of those the Heller Amendment (pdf) would have applied the same mechanism currently being used for Medicare and Medicaid in place to block access to the Public Option by Illegal Immigrants.
1 (h) APPLICATION OF INCOME AND ELIGIBILITY
2 VERIFICATION SYSTEM (IEVS) AND THE SYSTEMATIC
3 ALIEN VERIFICATION FOR ENTITLEMENTS (SAVE) PRO4
GRAMS.—In order to utilize the public health insurance
5 option, an individual must have had his or her eligibility
6 determined and approved under the Income and Eligibility
7 Verification System (IEVS) and the Systematic Alien
8 Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) programs under sec9
tion 1137 of the Social Security Act. The benefit deter10
mination and approval under this subsection shall be the
11 responsibility of the Exchange-participating health bene12
fits plan offering the public health insurance option.
Here's the other amendment.
"(b) PREVENTING ILLEGAL ALIENS
13 "(1) VERIFICATION AS CONDITION ON FUND-
14 ING.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
15 no unauthorized aliens shall be eligible for any item
16 or service furnished under this title. The Secretary
17 shall not provide funding under 1903('l:t~ for medical
1 assistance provided to an individual unless such indi-
2 vidual has been determined to be eligible for medical
3 assistance under this title on the basis of-
4 "(A) United States citizenship or nation-
S ality through the verification process described
6 in section 1903(x); or
7 ~ "(B) qualified alien status through the im-
8 migration status verification system described
9 in section 1137(d).
The problem is as has been pointed out on Thinkprogress - these amendments would have added burdensome and expensive requirements - plus they wouldn't have worked!
The two amendments to verify citizenship were voted down because one would have given private insurance providers unprecedented access to the sensitive income and identity information of all those applying for health care assistance and the other would have “imposed a burdensome and costly documentation procedure that we know has been a sledgehammer for a non-existent problem.”
Verification measures aren’t always effective either. A House Oversight Committee investigation “reviewed six state Medicaid programs in 2007 and concluded that verification rules had cost the federal government an additional $8.3 million. They caught exactly eight illegal immigrants.” The Government Accountability Office has found that such requirements caused eligible U.S. citizens to lose Medicaid coverage.
$8 Million to catch 8 Illegals. And worse it can take benefits away from actual U.S. Citizens. Yeah, that's serving the tax payer well.
Typically and most effectively, the handling of specific administrative procedures to block illegals from access to affordability credits which could be used to stop them from using Federal Funds on their health care (regardless of whether they use a Public Option, or apply the credits to some other Private Insurance Option) are best handled within the internal rules of the Department of Health and Human Services.
In fact those procedures already exist and have existed since the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
The 1996 federal welfare law requires state and local agencies to verify the immigration status of all applicants for federal public benefits. To date, only the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has defined "federal public benefit", a list that includes TANF, Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, foster care & adoption, child care and development fund, LIHEAP, refugee programs, and SSBG. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has issued interim guidance and a proposed rule on how states should comply with the new requirement. States have two years from the issuance of the final rule to implement verification procedures. The INS' final rule on verification is expected to be issued in September, 2000.
Another problem with treating the Public Option like Medicare or Medicaid is the fact that it's not Publically Funded Insurance. It's paid for by premiums from those who choose it, so by blocking it to so-called illegal immigrants who would - with the current bill have to pay for it out of their own pocket - is that it's like no letting illegal immigrants buy groceries, even though you haven't been arrested for any "crime", they haven't been charged and haven't been shown to be Guilty of Anything.
I could Rob a Bank tomorrow and use the money to buy a house, and there's nothing to stop me - until someone PROVES I committed a crime, and they take the house back.
I though this was the land of the "Free" where you were presumed innocent until Proven Guilty? Not the other way around were you're assumed to be guilty until you show your papers.
The point is you can't fight a law enforcement problem with Health Care policy and you shouldn't be trying to turn Doctors and Nurses into COPS.
At a certain point the lies have to stop. There already are measures in place to block access to the problem by illegal immigrants, and Republicans are simply whining that their additional suggestions weren't adopted because they aren't needed and they WON'T WORK!