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SCHIP and illegal aliens (shocker: a Center for American Progress fib?)

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP/S-CHIP) appears like it could be abused by illegal aliens to obtain benefits that they should not, under the bill, receive. Whether that's intentional or not isn't known. The bill was recently vetoed by president Bush. The House will try to override the veto next week (link).

The bill is HR 976 (link). Section 605 ("No federal funding for illegal aliens") contains this one sentence:
Nothing in this Act allows Federal payment for individuals who are not legal residents.
However, Section 211 ("Verification of declaration of citizenship or nationality for purposes of eligibility for medicaid and chip") describes how eligibility for the program can be proven by providing a name and a social security number. That's then verified with the Commissioner of Social Security. That would allow illegal aliens and others to obtain benefits using someone else's name and SSN, just as long as they match:
In order to better understand the impact of these changes, on Friday I [presumably Jim McCrery, Ranking Member, Committee on Ways and Means] wrote a letter to the Social Security Administration, asking whether this type of process could detect and prevent legal and illegal aliens from improperly qualifying for Medicaid and SCHIP. In his response (copy attached), SSA Commissioner Astrue indicated that the new provision would fail to identify and therefore prevent the following categories of persons from illegally getting healthcare benefits through Medicaid or SCHIP:
* Legal aliens who are not naturalized citizens;
* Illegal aliens fraudulently using another persons valid name and Social Security number;
* Individuals who have illegally overstayed a valid work permit.
Commissioner Astrue's letter makes it explicitly clear that this new provision will not prevent legal and illegal aliens from violating our laws and qualifying for Medicaid and SCHIP.
So, while the bill pretends to block illegal aliens from obtaining benefits, there's a huge loophole which many illegal aliens would seek to take advantage of. And, their apologists - those who profit from illegal immigration in some way - would seek to enable them to obtain those benefits.

Thus, we turn to Meredith King of the Clinton-linked Center for American Progress, which is more of a joke than a think tank. In her August 16, 2007 article [1] she said:
Hardline conservatives in the White House and Congress failed to defeat this progressive legislation. But undeterred, they are now falsely claiming that the House bill will allow undocumented immigrants access to public health insurance at the expense of tax paying citizens.
Could the version of the bill she's discussing be different? Apparently not. The earliest version appears to be H.R.3269 from July 31, 2007 (link), and it contains a Section 211 nearly identical to that in the vetoed version.

She's not alone. The October 8 MetroWest Daily News (Massachusetts) editorial "Editorial: Twisting SCHIP facts" [2] says:
But a more blatant distortion comes from James Ogonowski, the Republican candidate for the 5th District Congressional seat in an Oct. 16 special election. "What bothers me the most is the benefits SCHIP gives to illegal immigrants," he wrote in an oped column in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune... But he ought to read the bill before he votes on it, including this part: "SEC. 605. NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS. Nothing in this Act allows Federal payment for individuals who are not legal residents."
[1] americanprogress.org/issues/2007/08/schip_immigrants.html
[2] metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/x1251771357

Related:
ThinkProgress misrepresents Chertoff comment about environmental damage on border
Sleazy Think Progress, Anderson Cooper lie about Tom Tancredo
Media Matters for America plays word games re: their funding
Ruy Teixeira, polling "expert", agenda-driven hack
Judd Legum/Think Progress: propaganda is OK if for a good cause
More Center for American Progress piffle on immigration

Immigration2007b · Thu, 10/11/2007 - 20:07 · Importance: 1

Fri, 10/12/2007 - 17:03
Tanstaafl
age-of-treason.blogspot.com/

"Free" healthcare and "cheap" labor, such a deal.

Sun, 10/14/2007 - 06:47
amanda

Notice a pattern? All of the recently proposed legislation (Z-visas, AgJobs, DREAM Act, schip) are gaped with holes intentionally built in to be exploited by fraud. It's a little obvious when you have specific provisions for including gang members in the Z-visa plan. This is all bad faith legislation and needs to be condemned as such, not just opposed. It's incredible how practically everything the Democrats propose has a pro-illegal alien Trojan horse element to it once the details are scrutinized.