Obamacare won't cover illegal immigrants? Yes it will, says Congressional Research Service
By: Mark TapscottEditorial Page Editor08/26/09 10:58 AM EDT
Among the many claims being made during the August recess by Democrats from President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, to the lowliest back-bencher is that Obamacare absolutely, positively, cannot possibly ever in a million, zillion years provide coverage to illegal immigrants.
Just this past weekend during his regular Saturday address - devoted to addressing what he called "false claims about reform" - Obama said he wants "an honest debate" on health care reform, "not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions."
In what he called the "first myth" being spread by critics of his proposal for a government-run health care system, Obama said they are wrong in claiming illegal immigrants will be covered: "That is not true. Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has not even been on the table." Obama said.
Well, Mr. President, that idea must have been tucked under a stack of background briefing papers over there in the corner of the table because the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says this about H.R. 3200, the Obamacare bill approved just before the recess by the House Energy and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA:
"Under H.R. 3200, a 'Health Insurance Exchange' would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option…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."
CRS also notes that the bill has no provision for requiring those seeking coverage or services to provided proof of citizenship. So, absent some major amendments to the legislation and a credible, concrete enforcement effort in action, looks like the myth on this issue is the one being spread by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et. al.