Two months ago, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) spoke truth to power when he yelled "You Lie!" as President Obama asserted "There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."[Transcript]
Wilson was right. Obama was indeed lying.
Under legislation which the House may vote on as early as Saturday (November 6), illegal aliens were allowed to participate in the government subsidized health "exchange". The Democrats intentionally blocked amendments to require any verification to ensure that illegal aliens do not receive the public option.
After Wilson exposed Obama and the Democrats' lies, the White House backtracked. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama would promote a bill where "illegal immigrants would not be allowed to access the exchange that is set up." He also said that adding verification requirements is "something we'd work out with Congress." [White House stiffens against coverage for illegal immigrants, Associated Press, September 11, 2009]
Obama can "work" all he wants, but the Democrats in Congress have apparently chosen simply to ignore his guidelines. In the 1900 pages of the health care bill, they couldn't (=wouldn't) add the few sentences that would keep illegal aliens from exploiting taxpayer services.
Joe Wilson along with Representatives Dean Heller (R-NV) and Nathan Deal (R-GA) are planning to introduce an amendment to the Rules committee to close this loophole. But the Democrats are planning to block it.
According to the Associated Press,
"Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) indicated that the House will have to vote on a bill that allows illegal aliens to use the new health care 'exchange' and that does not require verification to keep illegal aliens out of the other parts of the proposed new federal health care system."
Despite Obama's promises not to cover illegal aliens in the exchange, he will not pressure Congress to follow his own guidelines. The Hispanic Caucus sent their leaders to demand that Obama keep this loophole in the bill, and threatened to vote against it if it were closed. After the meeting, the Associated Press reported,
"'He listened to us. We listened to him,' said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 'We made it very clear that 20 votes in the Hispanic caucus depend on the language in the House bill.
"Currently, there is no prohibition in the House bill against illegal aliens buying insurance in the exchange, but the White House backs such a ban and one exists in the Senate bill.
"'I think that he got our message,' Velazquez said.' [Obama, House Dems press for health care votes, by Erica Werner and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, November 5, 2009]
But both the Senate and House versions of health care reform only require immigrants to show a driver's license or social security card to prove legal status. Needless to say, as long experience with only requiring employees to provide easily forged ID cards to prove their legal work status shows, this will not keep illegals from fraudulently acquiring healthcare.
Another loophole to give illegal aliens healthcare: anchor babies.
Congressional Research Services reported that
"There could be instances where some family members would meet the definition of an eligible individual for purposes of the credit, while other family members would not… H.R. 3200 [Note H.R. 3200 is not the version of the Health Care Bill that will be voted on—that's H.R. 3692—however, the exact same problem exists in both bills.] does not expressly address how such a situation would be treated. Therefore, it appears that the Health Choices Commissioner would be responsible for determining how the credits would be administered in the case of mixed-status families." [Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200, by Alison Siskin, Congressional Research Services, August 26, 2009]
In other words, if a child of an illegal alien is an anchor baby US Citizen and thus eligible for Obamacare, then the entire family—legal or illegal—is also eligible.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) summarized all these problems succinctly
"First, the bill allows open access to the federally run Health Insurance Exchange, subsidized with two billion dollars of taxpayer funds. Second, the bill contains an unreliable verification mechanism. Applicants for federal insurance subsidies will not even be required to provide identity documents to prove they are who they claim to be. And third, the bill leaves open the possibility that if one citizen family member is eligible for benefits, then the whole family, including illegal immigrant family members, is also eligible for the benefits."
In addition (and an even bigger problem): legal immigrants can suck resources from the American taxpayer. The 1996 Welfare Reform Act sensibly barred legal immigrants from receiving means tested services in their first five years here. But H.R. 3692, explicitly provides an exemption, so that immigrants are immediately eligible for taxpayer-funded healthcare.
Polls show that 83% of Americans don't want illegal aliens to be covered by government insurance. But Obama apparently missed that message—because he is too concerned with the ethnic lobbies within his own party.
While the Democrats lie about illegal aliens being covered by Obamacare, they are very upfront about the fact that covering illegals won't matter anyway if we pass amnesty.
Sen. Jeff Bingham (D-NM) said: "We are not trying to expand health care coverage to illegal immigrants through this legislation. That will have to be dealt with through comprehensive immigration reform [a.k.a. amnesty]."
The Democrats realize that the immigration battle is tied to the health care battle. And so should immigration patriots.
If the immigration issue manages to sink Obama's top legislative goal, it's a safe bet that amnesty for illegals will be dead on arrival.
"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.