Dick Morris recently suggested that John McCain highlight his contention that Barack Obama's healthcare proposal covers illegal aliens. Lester Feder at the Huffington Post asked the BHO campaign about this:
David Cutler, senior health care adviser to the Obama campaign, says Morris's argument flies in the face of the plain language of the Obama plan. He notes that it reads, "My plan begins by covering every American." Cutler added in an email, "That should have been enough for" Morris.
It's not enough because many Democrats have used "Americans" to mean various things, from U.S. citizens to U.S. citizens plus immigrants to U.S. citizens plus immigrants and illegal aliens to everyone in North and South America. In the mind of many Democratic Party leaders, the word "American" is a bit fluid.
Further, the numbers don't add up: The 45 to 47 million people that BHO touts as covered by his plan include millions of people who aren't U.S. citizens.
For instance, BHO's page (barackobama.com/issues/healthcare) includes this quote from his May 29, 2007 Iowa City, IA speech:
If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law.
In the text of the page, it says this:
47 million Americans — including nearly 9 million children — lack health insurance with no signs of this trend slowing down.
Now, let's turn to the Census Bureau chart in this PDF file (link). On Page 21, the number of those without health insurance in 2006 is indeed 47 million (rounded). However, only 35.7 million of those are native born or naturalized.
10.2 million of the 47 million are listed as "not a citizen". The Census Bureau doesn't say what status those 10.2 million have, but some will be visitors, some will be those working towards citizenship, and some will be illegal aliens. Most likely a good percentage or a majority will in fact be illegal aliens.
Now, of course, there is a sneaky way that Obama might not be lying but simply being very misleading, as has been seen before. He could be thinking forward to his other plan, the one to give a massive amnesty to illegal aliens. If that's enacted, all those millions of illegal aliens would be magically transformed overnight into legal residents on the "path to citizenship" and they'd eventually become U.S. citizens, i.e., "Americans". Under that BHO plan, almost all of those 47 million would be U.S. citizens eventually, so, a few years after his plan was enacted, BHO will not have lied.
There are a lot of possibilities here:
1. The BHO campaign is lying/being very misleading about who would be covered by their healthcare plan.
2. The BHO campaign has a flexible definition of "Americans".
3. The BHO campaign has a circuitous, trans-Clintonian "out" involving the massive amnesty they'd grant.
4. Other explanations even beyond anything Bill Clinton could ever come up with.
I'll try contacting Cutler to see which it is.
7/23 UPDATE: No reply has so far been received from Cutler. And, Morris does the math for the BHO campaign again:
The senator is either misrepresenting when he says he'll cover 47 million or when he denies that he'll cover illegal immigrants. We choose, given his liberal pedigree, to believe that his denial is inaccurate and his original statement, repeated again and again, is controlling.
7/23 UPDATE 2: I sent the email again, this time to Cutler's faculty assistant. She replied that she'd pass the message along but she couldn't guarantee when/if he'd reply.
7/27 UPDATE: Still no word from Cutler. In comments, a presumed BHO fan tries to claim that the 10.2 million is just legal immigrants. First, it doesn't matter: legal immigrants are neither citizens nor (in our dictionary) Americans. Second, the linked PDF from the Census Bureau says absolutely nothing regarding the immigration status of those 10.2 million. At the beginning it does says this:
The data in this report are from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS). The population represented (the population universe) is the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in the United States.
And, this CB page describes the CPS, saying:
Because all residents of the United States living in households are represented in the sample of households interviewed by the CPS, undocumented immigrants or illegal aliens are probably included in CPS data. Because the CPS makes no attempt to ascertain the legal status of any person interviwed, these individuals cannot be identified from CPS data.
Immigration2008a · Tue, 07/22/2008 - 10:34 · Importance: 1