Analysts Agree that Undocumented Immigrants Will Not Get Free Health Care, But Who's Listening?
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
It’s probably not what President Barack Obama expected, but the highlight of his speech on health care reform to a joint session of Congress seemed to be his being heckled by South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson. The now infamous “You Lie!” scream came after Obama refuted the Republican claim that undocumented immigrants will receive health care under his initiative.
Several organizations went back to the bill once more Thursday to try to establish for certain who’s actually telling the truth on this one.
The main source in this review is Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200, an 11-page analysis by the Congressional Research Service, which you can download here.
The report seems to debunk the main claim by the bill’s opponents: that the lack of an explicit verification system to check whether applicants are legally in the U.S. means the undocumented would be able to purchase health coverage with the same government credits citizens would get under the proposal. CRS says that spelling out how the verification system will work will fall to the new Health Choices Commissioner.
“Thus, it appears, absent of a provision in the bill specifying the verification procedure, that the Commissioner would be responsible for determining a mechanism to verify the eligibility of noncitizens for the credits.”
[ See report, page 6 ]