Senate Finance Committee Democrats rejected a proposed a requirement that immigrants prove their identity with photo identification when signing up for federal healthcare programs.
Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that current law and the healthcare bill under consideration are too lax and leave the door open to illegal immigrants defrauding the government using false or stolen identities to obtain benefits.
Grassley`s amendment was beaten back 10-13 on a party-line vote.
The bill, authored by committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), would require applicants to verify their names, places of birth and Social Security numbers. In addition, legal immigrants would have to wait five years, as under current law, after obtaining citizenship or legal residency to access federal healthcare benefits such as Medicaid and the Children`s Health Insurance Program or receive tax credits or purchase insurance through the exchange created by the legislation.
But the [bill] would not require them to show a photo ID, such as a drivers license. Without that requirement, the bill "remains dearly lacking when it comes to identification," Grassley said. "Frankly, I`m very perplexed as to why anyone would oppose this amendment," he said. [Senators turn back ID requirement for immigrant healthcare, September 30, 2009]