Obama chose his words with great care. Section 246 of the bill—dealing solely with insurance subsidies—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."
Defenders of the bill frequently quote and display copies of this section at their town hall meetings.
Notice how narrow this is? It says they should not receive the bill's new insurance subsidies. It doesn't say they can't receive taxpayer-paid health care. It doesn't say they can't receive other benefits from HR 3200, such as the expanded Medicaid.
Obama obviously wants to leave the impression that government won't pay health care for illegals. It's a false impression. Here are the two big fallacies with Obama's carefully-chosen and scripted words:
” There are other avenues for illegal aliens to receive health care at public expense.
” All efforts to add enforcement language to HR3200 were defeated by mostly party-line votes. We can expect that the bureaucracy would look the other way under Obama’s control (just as it has with prior presidents).
Current law says illegal aliens qualify only for emergency medical care through Medicaid. Most of these are childbirths. These costs exceed $3 billion a year. But because few states require proof of legal presence for regular Medicaid, nobody knows the true number of illegals who receive it, or at what cost.
The House bill not only makes a major expansion of Medicaid eligibility but also restricts (in Section 1702) inquiries about immigration status. Efforts to fix this and to add enforcement provisions to HR 3200 were offered in the Ways & Means Committee by Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and in the Energy & Commerce Committee by Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), but voted down. No Democrats supported Heller. Blue Dog Representatives Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Charles Melancon (D-La.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), and Baron Hill (D-Ind.) voted for the Deal proposal.
So we still have the problem as described by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in his op-ed for The Hill:
H.R. 3200 contains gaping loopholes that will allow illegal immigrants to receive taxpayer-funded benefits. And these loopholes are no accident. The legislation contains no verification mechanism to ensure that illegal immigrants do not apply for benefits. Republicans offered an amendment to close this loophole—it would have required verification using the existing methods that are already in place to verify eligibility for other federal benefits programs. But, when they were asked to put the language of the bill where their words were, in a party-line vote, House Democrats rejected the amendment to require verification and close this loophole.
Our media, unfortunately, don't seem to understand. They persist in an Obama-friendly minimal analysis, saying simplistically that the bill excludes coverage for illegal aliens. Immigration Distrust on Health Bill, Human Events, August 27, 2009 ]
Sadly, the liberal media remains smitten with Obama and cannot report fairly while being an advocate for the President who can do no wrong.
See also my blog item on this topic Democrats Insist on Extravagant Medical Giveaway for Illegals of the World.