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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The House Bill Does Cover Illegals

During Barack Obama's speech tonight, Obama said it was untrue that "the reforms I am proposing" cover illegal aliens. Someone in the audience, reportedly South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson, yelled out "liar."

Now this isn't the British parliament, so I don't agree with shouting out. Just who is lying, though, depends upon which plan is being used to determine if illegal aliens are covered.

Technically, Obama was correct that his plan does not cover illegal aliens because Obama has no plan that has been released, only concepts. So if Obama says his plan doesn't cover illegals, then by definition it does not cover illegals -- at least until we see the language in his plan. Similarly, the Senate HELP Committee bill defines an "eligible individual" in numerous places throughout the bill to include only citizens and legal residents (including for the public option, at page 111 of the bill).

So using the two measures, the non-existent Obama bill and the draft Senate HELP Committee bill which was not a full Senate proposal, Obama was correct.

But if the standard is the full House Bill, HR3200, then it appears that Obama was incorrect. There is nothing in HR3200 that excludes illegal aliens from the various coverage provisions (with a few limited exceptions). The Congressional Research Service agrees with this assessment (full report embedded below). For example, with regard to health care exchanges, the CRS found:
H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in the Exchange.
Since the Obama administration wanted a full House vote passing HR3200 prior to the August recess, Obama was okay with a bill that included illegal aliens.

Was Obama a "liar" meaning that he had knowledge of the falsehood of the statement he made at the time he made it? Hard to say. Maybe Obama was playing word games like Bill Clinton did as to the definition of "is." Or maybe Obama simply was mistaken as was George Bush on WMDs in Iraq.

UPDATE: One of the talking points I have seen in numerous comments posted around the blogosphere is that Obama was correct because Section 246 of the House Bill excludes illegals from receiving Individual Affordability Credits. That is true, and one of the few exceptions under the Bill. But it is the exception which proves the rule. As the CRS found, illegal aliens can participate in most of the critical aspects of the government health system including the health care exchanges.

Added: It also would be interesting to see how long the exclusion of illegal aliens from getting the credits lasted, since as the CRS notes, illegal aliens are subject to the health care mandate; one can anticipate the argument that if the House Bill requires illegals to have qualified health insurance, some accomodation needs to be made for those who cannot afford it.

There already are calls in reaction to Obama's speech to include illegal aliens fully in the health care coverage, credits and all:
So, tax dollars are already being spent on care for uninsured and undocumented immigrants. And hospital resources are being strained since the losses aren't fully accounted for, which can have an effect on the quality of medical care provided to the general population. Regardless of the system in place, coverage of undocumented immigrants is a problem that's going to need to be dealt with. Given that, shouldn't we be working toward a solution that's more transparent and just?
Treatment of Non Citizens in HR 3200

Related Post:
Shocking Lack of Respect

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  1. Did you get a look at his expression when someone called him on it by saying "You lie"? Priceless.

  2. What about the thousands of illegals that go to the ER costing tens of millions each year and nearly bankrupting many healthcare facilities because the services are never paid for? I do not say turn them away, but what about treating them and then ending them back home?

  3. I commend Wilson for what he did. It's high time and MORE than appropriate! I only wish more of them had displayed opposition to the crap being spewed. This speech was the biggest joke I've ever heard from a President. Jeez, these guys are supposed to be fighting for this country!! Opposition to a take over of your country isn't always "civil."

  4. The look on Speaker Pelosi's face was even better.

  5. Joe Wilson (SC R) was out of line in yelling "Liar"; however, what the hell do you do when you find yourself surrounded by liars and bills you haven't even been allowed to read?

    Wilson is basically a "freshman" .. he hasn't learned how to kiss ass.

    That would describe me perfectly. Just a citizen .. where's the damned BILL?

  6. So your idea is that an illegal shouldn't even be able to buy insurance? And that his ability to do so - without subsidy - makes Obama a liar? Couldn't it be possible that he, like any sane person, assumes that the objection is giving insurance money to illegals and that taking their money is a good thing?

  7. tqwhite is correct. "illegals" are not banned from buying insurance anymore then they are banned from buying canned string beans.Unless one favors checking some kind of national ID card for every consumer purchase, prohibiting retail sells of insurance or groceries to illegals or non-illegals would costs billions in enforcement.


    (a) DEFINITION. --

    (1) IN GENERAL. -- For purposes of this division, the term ''affordable credit eligible individual'' means, subject to subsection (b), an individual who is lawfully present in a State in the United States (other than as a nonimmigrant described in a subparagraph (excluding subparagraphs (K), (T), (U), and (V)) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) --


    Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

    Senate HELP bill excludes those "not lawfully present" from federal funding. Under the "Making Coverage Affordable" section of the Affordable Health Choices Act:

    (h) NO FEDERAL FUNDING. -- Nothing in this Act shall allow Federal payments for individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

  8. Many in the Republican Party have been reduced somehow to the level of children on a playground. With the same narrow and limited world view of a child. What happened to the Republican Party of my father and his father before him? Where are the adults in the GOP?

  9. I understand why a person wouldn't want to have taxpayer money fund an illegal immigrant buying health insurance. But I have no idea why anyone would care whether an illegal immigrant can use his own money to buy health insurance over the exchange with his or her own money. If you can make a cogent argument for why this is a problem, make it, but it sounds like this is purely to score a cheap political point - which is pretty much the MO of this web site.

  10. Agree with Satya. This blog post intends to deceive readers by equivocation between "provide coverage" and "participate in the exchange". It's telling that the only way the right can argue, or for that matter defend the rude behavior of its congresscritters, is through informal fallacies.

  11. "maybe Obama simply was mistaken"

    Ambrose Bierce once wrote, "The editor of the Alta has written that the three words most difficult to pronounce consecutively are 'I was mistaken.' The good fellow is himself mistaken. The three words most difficult to pronounce consecutively are 'I deliberately lied' and are more frequently true."

    I wonder what Bierce would think of a president who said his gazillion dollar health care plan wasn't going to cost anybody anything.


  12. What keeps illegal immigrants from getting Medicaid now, the same ways purported in the debate that they will receive benefits under the new plan? Nothing? Oh! I thought this was a new concern, but I guess I was wrong. Wilson and anyone else who accuses the president of lying about that issue is just plain stupid - the bill isn't finished yet, how can you make that accusation? How about making some suggestions for improvement instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

    And, foreign nationals can NOW buy insurance that will cover them while in this country. Why not make that part of the deal?

  13. In the bill, not in the bill

    If this passes all health workers will be union including the Drs and Nurses.

    Does anyone think for one minute that hospitals will turn away illegal aliens even if it is just a cold?

  14. Why should Illegals be allowed to breathe good honest American air and eat our American apple pie? We need a bill that makes it illegal for the illegals to breathe our American air illegally! No gas either!

  15. There seems to be some confusion over "participating" in the exchange versus being able to enroll in a public option or receive government subsidies. The exchange is not coverage. The exchange is analogous to a flea-market where there are lots of tables set up by different sellers. Many of the tables are run by private companies. One table may be run by the federal government. The federal government will also hand out coupons to certain people for their purchases. Illegals are allowed into the flea market and may buy from the private tables if the private tables chose to sell to them. This is no different than what happens today. If a private insurance company wants to sell to illegal alien they can do so. I would imagine private insurance companies would WANT illegals to participate in the exchange/flea market, otherwise they would be losing out on potential customers.

    Though allowed into the exchange/flea-market, illegals won't be able to buy from the government table or use the government coupons. The language in the bills is specific. As for verification--I assume you would need a valid social security number when you fill out the forms for the plans, just like every insurance form I've ever filled out has required.

    But the CRS thing is a canard, which incorrectly conflates participation in the exchange with ability to participate in a public option or use federal subsidies.

  16. Rest assured: the Dems are going to fight hard to give benefits to IAs, one way or another.

    The aspect of this issue that no one else mentions is that the Dems have a deceptive plan to give current IAs benefits: legalize them first.

    If anyone wants to do something, ask these questions at townhalls.

  17. There's just one teeny-tiny problem with this argument: it's bogus.


    Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

    With such vague, ambiguous language, I can see why you all might simultaneously somehow be "mistaken" - as in "mistakenly" doing everything you can to kill a health-reform bill that will yet again solidify the Democrats' reputation as the party of positive social reform, while re-confirming that the GOP is the Party Of Yesterday (exactly like what happened on abortion, labor-rights, segregation, health-&-safety regulations, & oh so many more).

    If you spin much harder, you people are going to screw yourselves right into the ground.

    But remember - "the public option is dead!"


  18. The usual way of using the undocumented is to win their belief that you care for them, but those evil Repubs are stopping any actions being taken... but wait until next year. The Sotomayor stone was laid and more foundation stones are being crafted to be laid when an Amnesty Immigration bill is pushed. The desire to send them home is not a wise thought. The Repubs need to win their hearts.

  19. Why are people speaking about illegals as if they have some right to be IN the US where they can contemplate on whether to buy insurance or not? What does ILLEGAL mean to most Dems?

  20. So to all the commenters who insist that under the House Bill there would be no subsidy for illegal aliens, please point me to the provision in the House Bill which prohibits illegal aliens from participating in the public plan, which will be a taxpayer subsidized insurance program.

  21. Your argument is stating that by not explicitly denying coverage, (for a group that is outside the government control anyhow as they are here illegally) they essentially are allowing it.

    I would ask if you could point out where in the bill does it explicitly allow illegal immigrants to be covered under the bill?

    By this logic, you must also be against the formation of a federally funded military. As illegal immigrants are afforded the same protection as citizens.

    Outside the scope of this bill, if an illegal immigrant walks into an ER today with a severed finger, does the ER turn them away since they don't have insurance? If they are unconscience from a car accident, do they spend the time determining if they have insurance or do the doctors work to revive the person? Does a fire fighter first ask a person in a burning building if they are here legally or illegally before helping them out?

    The whole issue of illegal immigrants is outside the scope of health care reform. It is a scare tactic employeed by those against the bill (for whatever reason) to instill uncertainty in the masses.

    And, as for Joe Wilson...my opinion is he is a little man who can't control his emotions even when placed in a position where emotions must be put aside to have productive discourse.

  22. The incident that occurred in Congress by Rep. Joe Wilson R-NC, illustrates the consequences of a blurring line between illegal immigration and health care. Our politicians have been alerted to the angry voices of the American people. For once they have disregarded the business campaign contributors and all the cloaked gifts given for services rendered by special interest lobbyists. Millions of US citizens are enraged with the status quo buying favors from our representatives that has led to our wilting economy. Today speaking on behalf of Washington committees on health care, the lawmaking emphasized that illegal aliens cannot access the new health reform package, that any person applying will be checked through government databases.

    E-Verify might be implemented for this very issue, that it has shown in the majority of cases remarkable successes in remove illegal alien workers from the working environment. E-Verify can solve this problem and bring sanity back to immigration enforcement. E-VERIFICATION OF EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN WORKER MUST BE MADE PERMANENT? NOT JUST VOLUNTARY POLICY, BUT AS A FULL FORCE OF OPERATION CARRYING STRICT PENALTIES. This operation will work under federal policies? But what about state laws? California as an example is a Sanctuary state for millions of illegal immigrants and their families? Other border states are also occupied by large proportions of unlawful populations of foreign nationals?

    This last year has culminated in huge financial losses in California caused by millions of low income illegal aliens, which has created a third world community within the United States. There must be federal measures to bring under control, massive spending benefits for people who have no right from benefiting from those who come here legally or were born here. How can any public health care option work at a state level, when states like California ignore federal law, regarding financial refuge to indigent people? Our own people remain homeless and in many cases without hope, when legislators have prioritized, health care, education an overloaded jail system and easy welfare money for illegal immigrants?

    The once golden state has been using taxpayer money, to support illegal aliens, when the same expenditures should have been adopted for a collapsing infrastructure. Highways, schools, tunnels, bridges and dams in a dangerous state of disrepair? Our legislators in many cases have been seduced by lobbyists and should be banned from any contact with our politicians. This will never happen, but something must be done? Millions have been spent on derailing the health care reform currently and in the past, as has immigration enforcement. Rescinding 287(g) federal training for local police enforcement of immigration laws, the NO MATCH LETTER and the cutting back on ICE raids on obnoxious businesses using foreign workers.

    The order to crush E-verify was given to Sen.Harry Reid, Speaker Pelosi, Janet Napolitano, but narrowly survived in the Senate chambers. Both political parties are equally to blame for not enforcing the 1986 Immigration Control & Reform Act that was inundated with fraud and a desire to weaken the laws. Now they want to rescind that law, offering yet another reform package that will never function? Let’s not kid ourselves! Huge veiled forces are at work to import as much cheap labor as possible with no restraints, lowering wages and an unconscionable burden on taxpayers.


  23. In the Exchange, people have to pay for their own coverage -- it's not government funded.

    How is making illegal aliens pay for their own insurance costing anyone anything? That's rather brilliant, I think -- let them pay their own way.

    Did you read the CRS report?