obama healthcare

ObamaCare: Democratic healthcare reform

Desite what you've heard, the healthcare reform push from Barack Obama and the Democrats would include illegal aliens as discussed here. At townhall meetings, several people have asked whether illegal aliens would be covered and been told no. The problem is that they weren't asking the right questions; they should have asked whether there were any enforcement provisions (see the link above) or they should have asked this question.

Last modified Aug 25, 2009
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

An Obamacare benefit to the GOP: more Job Creators - 02/27/14

Could Obamacare end up being an electoral boon for the GOP? Let me explain in the context of the video below. The video - from Time Warner Cable News - shows a Job Creator complaining that he can't expand his business to two more locations: if he does he'll hit the 50 employer limit imposed by Obamacare and have to either pay a fine or provide healthcare to his employees.

Tea Party Patriots, ForAmerica mostly ignore immigration for futile anti-Obamacare effort ("Exempt America" tour) - 08/22/13

The Congressional townhall events of August were a perfect time to block comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty), yet few have showed up so far. The reaction to amnesty in 2013 is much more muted than it was in 2007.

Oops: "Hispanics" now want GOP to stop opposing Obamacare - 04/01/13

In negotiations, when you show weakness and make weak demands, your opponents tend to take advantage of that.

Thus it is with the GOP quest for racial power (link):

Immigration reform may make millions eligible for Obamacare (amnesty, healthcare) - 01/26/13

From The Hill ( peekURL.com/z286S6Y ):

Comprehensive immigration reform could make millions of people suddenly eligible for assistance under President Obama's healthcare law, assuming a final deal paves the way for undocumented immigrants to receive papers.

Illegal aliens are now prohibited from purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges, which will launch next year.

Once again: how to block or modify the healthcare reform bill - 12/22/09

The reason why Obama healthcare is currently poised to be signed into law is, to be frank, because the leaders of the opposition are either incompetent or corrupt. They either don't want to block it and hope to get in on the gravy train, or they just aren't smart enough to figure out how to block it. Those opposition leaders include the GOP, the tea parties, pundits, and major bloggers.

"Death panels" in health care bill can't be repealed; ACORN and others can get funding - 12/22/09

The latest news on the Obama healthcare front is that the "death panels" part of the legislation - the part that doesn't exist even though it does exist - cannot be repealed per language inserted by Harry Reid (link). The subsection about the "Independent Medicare Advisory Board" says:

it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.

According to an update however, it could be effectively repealed by refusing to fund it.

In related news, Roland Burris inserted language in an amendment that could be used to fund ACORN, the National Council of La Raza, and a whole host of other groups (weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/12/exclusive_acorn_qualifies_for_1.asp). From the amendment:

In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary, acting through the Deputy Assistant Secretary, shall award grants, contracts, enter into memoranda of understanding, cooperative, interagency, intra-agency and other agreements with public and nonprofit private entities, agencies, as well as Departmental and Cabinet agencies and organizations, and with organizations that are indigenous human resource providers in communities of color to assure improved health status of racial and ethnic minorities, and shall develop measures to evaluate the effectiveness of activities aimed at reducing health disparities and supporting the local community. Such measures shall evaluate community outreach activities, language services, workforce cultural competence, and other areas as determined by the Secretary.’’

If you don't like this turn of events, here's how to block or modify the healthcare reform bill.

Politifact "Lie of the Year" misleads (Angie Drobnic Holan; Sarah Palin's "death panels") - 12/19/09

Politifact has named Sarah Palin's claim about there being "death panels" in Obama healthcare as their lie of the year; it was the top "lie" selected by both their editors and their readers.

Illegal aliens would get employer-funded health insurance under House, Senate healthcare bills - 11/30/09

From this:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could receive health care coverage from their employers under the [House and Senate] bills winding their way through Congress, despite President Obama's explicit pledge that illegal immigrants would not benefit... The House bill mandates, and the Senate bill strongly encourages, businesses to extend health care coverage to all employees. But the bills do not have exemptions to screen out illegal immigrants... A rough estimate by the Center for Immigration Studies suggests that the practical effect of the mandates would be that about 1 million illegal immigrants could obtain health insurance coverage through their employers...

Hospital program fails due to illegal alien care; Kevin Sack /NYT fails to report on proper policy - 11/21/09

Kevin Sack of the New York Times offers "Hospital Falters as Refuge for Illegal Immigrants" (link) about a hospital in Atlanta (Grady Memorial Hospital) that closed their outpatient dialysis clinic due to losing millions of dollars providing unreimbursed ca

Roundup of legal and illegal immigrant coverage by Obamacare - 11/04/09

Julia Preston of the New York Times has a roundup of the current state of Obamacare as it relates to coverage of legal immigrants and illegal aliens here. While near the beginning she does try to pretend that the Democrats wants to prevent illegal aliens from receiving benefits, she also includes quotes from those working to stiffen the identification requirements and correctly pointing out what the Democrats are trying to do. Per her, the battle now is over whether legal immigrants will be covered immediately or whether they'll have a waiting period. She also includes this:

"You can either keep those immigrants healthy now, or exclude them and wait until they get really sick, then pay for it down the line," said Prof. Steven P. Wallace, associate director of the U.C.L.A. research center. "If you don’t pay now, you’re going to pay for them later."

That's a false choice: legal immigrants are supposed to have sponsors who'll ensure that they don't become public charges.

Jim Geraghty, Glenn Reynolds promote anti-intellectualism (10/7/09 edition; Steve Israel townhall) - 10/07/09

Last night, Rep. Steve Israel of New York held a townhall meeting that per this consisted mainly of shouting and other anti-intellectual behavior. One question that was asked of him is provided at the link, and it isn't a good question.

Amendment to require photo ID for ObamaCare services defeated in Senate (Baucus bill) - 09/30/09

The mainstream media, Barack Obama, and others have repeatedly claimed that the various Obama healthcare plans wouldn't include illegal aliens. For the reasons outlined at the link, that's false. And, their false claims are further undercut by repeated attempts by the Democrats to render ineffective attempts at enforcement, like this latest where an amendment to the Max Baucus bill was blocked:

The bill... would require applicants to verify their names, places of birth and Social Security numbers. In addition, legal immigrants would have to wait five years, as under current law, after obtaining citizenship or legal residency to access federal healthcare benefits such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program or receive tax credits or purchase insurance through the exchange created by the legislation.

But the would not require them to show a photo ID, such as a drivers license. Without that requirement, the bill "remains dearly lacking when it comes to identification," Grassley said. "Frankly, I'm very perplexed as to why anyone would oppose this amendment," he said.

But Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who represents the border state of New Mexico, said that the type of fraud Grassley said he wants to prevent is highly uncommon. "The way I see the amendment, it's a solution without a problem," Bingaman said.

Democrats: cover legal immigrants in Obamacare, give illegal aliens access (Honda, NCLR - 09/28/09

Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times offers "Liberals seek health-care access for illegals":

Fearful that they're losing ground on immigration and health care, a group of House Democrats is pushing back and arguing that any health care bill should extend to all legal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants some access.

..."Legal permanent residents should be able to purchase their plans, and they should also be eligible for subsidies if they need it. Undocumented, if they can afford it, should be able to buy their own private plans [even on the proposed Exchange]. It keeps them out of the emergency room," said Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus...

Mr. Honda told The Washington Times that he's not pushing for illegal immigrants to gain access to taxpayer-subsidized benefits. "That's an argument that's been done already," he said.

The two letters are at house.gov/apps/list/press/ca15_honda/Health_090923.html however I wasn't able to find a list of those signing on; if anyone can do that leave a comment.

The article also mentions this:

The National Council of La Raza launched its own "flood their voice mail" campaign last week to put pressure on (Sen. Max Baucus) to expand coverage in his proposal to include all legal immigrants and to drop verification language in the legislation that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining coverage.

Did Joe Wilson vote to give healthcare to illegal aliens in 2003? (Donny Shaw, Sunlight) - 09/19/09

The short answer is "no". The reason why there's even a question is because it's part of the campaign by Obama supporters to smear Joe Wilson for his "You lie!" outburst during a recent Obama speech. While that campaign rages on even today, here's a recent flashback to Sep. 11.

Obama snubs Fox to discuss domestic policy with foreign citizen (Jorge Ramos, Univision) - 09/19/09

On Sunday 9/20/09, Barack Obama will be appearing on five (5) Sunday talk shows to promote Obama healthcare. One stop he won't be making is at Fox News; Chris Wallace isn't too happy about being snubbed [1] and neither are various GOP leaders [2].

Instead of reaching out to Fox's viewers and deflecting what would assuredly be lightweight questions, Obama will be appearing on Univision's "Al Punto with Jorge Ramos". Ramos is a Mexican citizen who has no interest in becoming a U.S. citizen; he says he might want to run for office in Mexico one day. Despite that, he has no qualms about interfering in our internal U.S. politics, supporting illegal immigration, and opposing assimilation (link, link).

And, at the CNN Democratic debate of February 21, 2008, he was allowed to ask questions of the presidential candidates and CNN did not reveal that he isn't even a citizen of the U.S. Don't expect Obama to do that either.

UPDATE: The Univision interview is at univision.com/content/content.jhtml?chid=3&schid=160&secid=20208&cid=2094409
As could have been expected, Obama said mostly the same thing he's been saying. He said (yet again) that illegal aliens won't be covered under Obama healthcare (without acknowledging the loopholes that would let them be covered and without explicitly mentioning his magical plan to simply legalize them first then give them healthcare). Asked about comprehensive immigration reform, he responded in the same basic way as George W Bush did, saying he was working on it and he's met with leaders but there's no specific timetable. He also referenced that Janet Napolitano was making changes to eliminate the "most negative practices we've seen" (note: from his English to Univision back to English).

And, Ramos - someone who represents Mexican and not U.S. interests - asked Obama why during his last big speech he'd used the phrase "illegal immigrants" rather than "undocumented immigrants" as he'd done during the campaign:

Yo estaba abordando la información errónea aportada por la otra parte que estaba tratando de… asustarnos. Yo esencialmente los estaba citando. Yo dije: "Para aquellos de ustedes que dicen que los inmigrantes ilegales van a tener cobertura bajo este plan, dije que eso no es cierto". Así que estoy usando esas palabras porque estaba yo dirigiéndome a la información errónea que ellos están proporcionando, yo estaba hablando directamente a un público, al pueblo estadounidense, quienes, debido a esta información errónea que le han brindado, en sí, creo que… estaban respondiendo …muy a menudo de una manera muy negativa.

Per Google:

I was addressing the misinformation provided by the other party ... I was trying to scare us. Yo esencialmente los estaba citando. Essentially I was quoting. I said: "For those of you who say that illegal immigrants will be covered under this plan, I said that's not true." So I'm using those words because I was speaking to the wrong information they are providing, I was talking directly to an audience, the American people who, because of this misinformation that you have provided, in itself, I think ... were responding ... very often in a very negative way.

[1] huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/19/snubbed-by-obama-fox-news_n_292254.html
[2] thehill.com/homenews/house/59141-gop-
lawmakers-criticize-obama-for-snubbing-fox-news

Rep. Luis Gutierrez wants illegal aliens in healthcare exchange; emulate Blue Dogs for amnesty - 09/15/09

Rep. Luis Gutierrez - a buffoonish fervent supporter of illegal immigration - recently spoke out in favor of allowing illegal aliens into the Obama healthcare "exchange".

E.J. Dionne sells Obamacare for illegal aliens - 09/15/09

EJ Dionne of the Washington Post writes of the Joe Wilson "You lie!" outburst and the topic of illegal aliens being covered under Obama healthcare (link). In this bit he lets you know that he's just a disingenuous hack whose opinions can't be trusted:

For the record, Wilson's premise is itself untrue: The framers of the various Democratic health-care bills did all they could to make sure their proposals wouldn't help illegal immigrants. Yes, a few might slip through the cracks and -- horrors! -- get assistance. But the health reformers wrote language as tough as it could be to make sure this wouldn't happen, short of creating provisions so draconian that some who are here legally would also be denied coverage.

The Democrats quashed amendments designed to prevent illegal aliens from receiving coverage, and anyone who thinks that the Democrats don't want to insure illegal aliens is dreaming.

FactCheck furiously spins healthcare coverage for illegal aliens; Obama still right! - 09/11/09

FactCheck offers "Obama’s Health Care Speech/We fact-check the president's address to Congress and the nation" (factcheck.org/2009/09/obamas-health-care-speech) which to a certain extent contradicts claims made by their own director Brooks Jackson back on August 14. At that time, he said it was "False" that "Illegal Immigrants Will Be Covered" under the House bill; his claim itself is false.

With the new article they're at least admitting that those who point out that illegal aliens would be covered "have a point", but they furiously spin things - surprise! - to Obama's benefit:

[In his speech] Obama was correct when he said his plan wouldn’t insure illegal immigrants; the House bill expressly forbids giving subsidies to those who are in the country illegally. Conservative critics complain that the bill lacks an enforcement mechanism, but that hardly makes the president a liar.

They're giving Obama too much credit. Way, way, way too much credit. He knows there are loopholes and he supports such loopholes. The only reason he isn't pushing to cover the entire population of Mexico is because he knows he couldn't get away with it. Obama is being deliberately deceptive; he's a liar.

They follow the quote above with a longer section; the first part of that reprises their previous false claim. Then:

However, conservative critics object to a lack of specific enforcement measures in the bill. They argue that the lack of a specific verification mechanism constitutes a loophole that would allow illegal immigrants to get benefits despite the legal prohibition. Republican Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada proposed an amendment to the bill that would have required the use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program to check the citizenship of anyone applying for federal coverage or affordability credits. SAVE is the program used by Medicaid and similar entitlement programs. That amendment was voted down along party lines by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Republicans have a point here: More could be done to enforce the ban. But it’s worth remembering that, as a spokesperson for the American Immigration Lawyers Association told us, attempting to get a health care credit would have legal repercussions. "Making a fraudulent claim to an entitlement program when you’re not actually entitled to it would have serious consequences for any person," the spokesperson told us, "but especially if it’s considered a false claim to citizenship, that would have serious immigration consequences that could ultimately lead to deportation." And Rep. Wilson certainly was out of bounds to call the president’s statement a "lie." He later issued a statement apologizing for his "inappropriate and regrettable" comments.

It was at the mention of the AILA that I broke out laughing. While to a certain extent most illegal aliens will try to lie low, the idea that most illegal aliens would be afraid of falsely claiming to be a citizen is absurd. They crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visa; they may be using falsified documents; they know that the chance of being deported are remote due to racial power groups and corrupt politicians. They aren't about to be deterred by a checkbox on a form.

And, of course, FactCheck is trying to imply that Joe Wilson retracted his claim that Obama was lying, when in fact Wilson maintains that Obama was lying.

In addition to Jackson, those responsible are: Jess Henig, DAngelo Gore and Lori Robertson.

Senate tightening rules on illegal aliens in healthcare reform? (after Joe Wilson's "You lie!") - 09/11/09

From this discussion of Senate negotiations over their version of Obama healthcare:

The controversy over Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's shouting out "You Lie!" at the President over his claim that illegal immigrants wouldn't benefit from health-care reform apparently sparked some reconsideration of the relevant language. "We really thought we'd resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the President's speech last night we wanted to go back and drill down again," said Senator Kent Conrad, one of the Democrats in the talks after a meeting Thursday morning. (Max Baucus) later that afternoon said the group would put in a proof of citizenship requirement to participate in the new health exchange - a move likely to inflame the left.

Angie Drobnic Holan of Politifact misleads about healthcare reform bill covering illegal aliens - 09/10/09

Angie Drobnic Holan of Politifact offers "Joe Wilson of South Carolina said Obama lied, but he didn't" [1] about Obama's claim that illegal aliens wouldn't get benefits under Obama healthcare. It follows the stock Politfact template: admit that Obama's opponents might have a point, but then punt and side with Obama. See this for links to why they're misleading, and see also this:

PolitiFact ignores the central argument made by Wilson's camp: that the House bill does not require that the legal status of people who receive "affordability credits" be verified. (Democrats in committee voted down an amendment to require verification.) Here's the entirety of PolitiFact's discussion of this issue, in a fairly long piece about Wilson vs. Obama: "The bill specifically says that people in the United States illegally are not eligible for tax credits, on page 132, section 242." So what? The law "says" that people aren't supposed to be here illegally in the first place, after all.

[1] politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/sep/09/
joe-wilson/joe-wilson-south-carolina-said-obama-lied-he-didnt

David Herszenhorn of NYT misleads about ObamaCare - 09/10/09

David Herszenhorn of the New York Times offers "Check Point: Examining Obama’s Assertions" (link). He lists some of the things Obama was truthful and not truthful about in last night's speech; reviewing all of those for accuracy is left as an exercise.

Obama health care speech: September 9, 2009 - 09/09/09

Barack Obama will be giving a healthcare speech on September 9, 2009 and either we'll be covering it live, or you will by leaving comments. If you'll be watching the speech, please leave a comment pointing out the things he's lied or misled about or the things he doesn't mention. A transcript of the speech will be posted here as soon as it's available.

UPDATE: You can watch this online at whitehouse.gov/live
I'm going to leave watching it up to you, please leave a comment.

The tea parties, angry townhall ranters didn't have much impact on Obamacare "debate" - 09/08/09

If the tea parties and angry townhall ranters had much of an impact on the "debate" over Obama healthcare, one would expect them to be crowing about it and one wouldn't expect to see things such as a Gallup poll showing the poll numbers of the plan mostly unchanged from the beginning of August to the end.

Al Franken shows incompetence of Tea Party leaders, how they help Obama - 09/05/09

The attached video shows U.S. Senator Al Franken discussing Obama healthcare with a group of his constituents at the Minnesota State Fair.

Joshua Hoyt of ICIRR misleads about healthcare for illegal aliens (Mark Kirk) - 08/31/09

Josh Hoyt - director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights whose president is linked to the Mexican government - offers "Congressman Kirk's Immigrant Blind Spot May Cost Him Dearly" (huffingtonpost.com/joshua-hoyt/congressman-kirks-immigra_b_272713.html). He's very "concerned" (as in the type of troll) about Rep. Mark Kirk's stance on immigration-related matters. Unfortunately, "concerns" such as he has strike a chord with certain Republicans who then - instead of doing the smart thing and trying to take power away from people like Hoyt - give in to their far-left demands and give them even more power.

And, he's misleading about Kirk, a recent Newsweek article, and related issues:

At last week's heavily attended town hall meeting on health care reform in Arlington Heights Congressman Mark Kirk continued to propagate what Newsweek just called one of "The Five Biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate": that proposed reforms will provide health insurance to illegal immigrants.

Kirk questioned even the notion that reform is necessary, claiming that few of the estimated 50 million uninsured in the U.S. are needy U.S. citizens. He then thundered to the applauding crowd, "Should we provide taxpayer health care for people who are illegally here in the U. S.? I do not think we should provide federally-subsidized health care to illegal aliens." No matter that the House version of reform explicitly excludes "individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States".

1. He's misrepresenting what the Newsweek article said. The article was misleading in part because it was supposedly about lies but they then admitted the possibility that illegal aliens could get benefits under the House bill.

2. It's not clear who said it, but there aren't an "estimated 50 million uninsured in the U.S.". The latest Census Bureau statistics are for 2007, and they're considered a high estimate. Their figures were 45.7 million without healthcare insurance, 9.7 million of that number are not U.S. citizens. Considering the next point, it's likely that the 50 million came from Hoyt and not from Kirk.

3. Kirk presented his argument in this video; the exact numbers aren't clear, but after subtracting foreign citizens, those eligible for public programs, those who are only temporarily without insurance, and those who have higher incomes, he arrived at what looks like just 7.8 million people who are "lower-income and long-term uninsured". Hoyt didn't disclose that to his readers.

4. And, of course, contrary to what Hoyt claims, the CRS has confirmed that illegal aliens would be able to obtain coverage under the House bill.

Sharon Begley of Newsweek dissembles about healthcare for illegal aliens - 08/31/09

Sharon Begley of Newsweek offers "The Five Biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate" (link), which contains a section discussing whether illegal aliens could receive healthcare under the House bill. Unlike FactCheck, she doesn't outright mislead and say they won't be able to get it, but she misleads nonetheless:

Illegal immigrants will get free health insurance.
The House bill doesn't give anyone free health care (though under a 1986 law illegals who can't pay do get free emergency care now, courtesy of all us premium paying customers or of hospitals that have to eat the cost). Will they be eligible for subsidies to buy health insurance? The House bill says that "individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States" will not be allowed to receive subsidies.

The claim that taxpayers will wind up subsidizing health insurance for illegal immigrants has its origins in the defeat of an amendment, offered in July by Republican Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada, to require those enrolling in a public plan or seeking subsidies to purchase private insurance to have their citizenship verified. Flecksoflife.com claimed on July 19 that "HC [health care] will be provided 2 all non US citizens, illegal or otherwise." Rep. Steve King of Iowa spread the claim in a USA Today op-ed on Aug. 20, calling the explicit prohibition on such coverage "functionally meaningless" absent mandatory citizenship checks, and it's now gone viral. Can we say that none of the estimated 11.9 million illegal immigrants will ever wangle insurance subsidies through identity fraud, pretending to be a citizen? You can't prove a negative, but experts say that Medicare—the closest thing to the proposals in the House bill—has no such problem.

1. In an article supposedly about lies, she's admitting the possibility that illegal aliens will be able to receive coverage. However, she's restricting it to the case of those pretending to be citizens. There may turn out to be cases where - as many government agencies like to say - they don't inquire about someone's status.

2. She doesn't mention the CRS report confirming that illegal aliens would be able to access benefits under the House bill. Google says her story was published two days ago, and the CRS report was made public at least four days ago.

3. She might have determined it on her own, but the reference to Flecksoflife.com was also made by FactCheck on August 28; see this for the details. How much of her other coverage (if any) originated at the less-than-credible FactCheck?

4. It's a strawman to hang an argument on the use of "free" in the "myth".

Blogger: FactCheck misattributed chain email to me ("Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200") - 08/30/09

FactCheck offers "Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200" (factcheck.org/2009/08/twenty-six-lies-about-hr-3200), a discussion of a chain email for which they say:

A notorious analysis of the House health care bill contains 48 claims. Twenty-six of them are false and the rest mostly misleading. Only four are true.

FactCheck recently misled about illegal aliens being covered under the House bill and for that and other reasons they aren't a credible source. However, I'm going to leave pointing out what if anything they got wrong in this case to those who are experts on the bil.

In this case, they make the following claim:

We can trace the origins of this collection of claims to a conservative blogger who issued his instant and mostly mistaken analyses as brief "tweets" sent via Twitter as he was paging through the 1,017-page bill. The claims have been embraced as true and posted on hundreds of Web sites, and forwarded in the form of chain e-mails countless times.

The blogger in question claims he didn't write the chain email (link) and a quick comparison of his tweets (link) with the contents of the email shows that they match up in some cases but in others have been slightly modified. If FactCheck is right about some of the claims being false, this is yet another example of Obama opponents mistakes, whether on the part of the blogger or on the part of whoever created the versions of his tweets in the email. In any case, it's dirty pool to try to pin the blame on the person who's post was used as the basis for the email but who didn't write the email itself.

Obama administration wants artists to push their agenda (NEA, serve.gov) - 08/26/09

A couple weeks ago, representatives of the Obama administration held a conference call with dozens from the art world in which those officials encouraged the artists to push issues that are also being pushed by the Barack Obama administration, including healthcare reform and cap and trade. The details are in this long, disjoined report from someone who took part in the call. Those on the call stressed the role of the art community in getting Obama elected (including referencing Shepard Fairey's posters and the "Yes We Can" song) and apparently wanted them to continue.

Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama’s call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were “health care” and “energy and environment.” The service was to be attached to the President’s United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans...

The people running the conference call and rallying the group to get active on these issues were Yosi Sergant, the Director of Communications for the National Endowment for the Arts; Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (note: run by Valerie Jarrett); Nell Abernathy, Director of Outreach for United We Serve (note: serve dot gov); Thomas Bates, Vice President of Civic Engagement for Rock the Vote; and Michael Skolnik, Political Director for Russell Simmons...

Discussed throughout the conference call was a hope that this group would be one that would carry on past the United We Serve campaign to support the President’s initiatives and those issues for which the group was passionate. The making of a machine appeared to be in its infancy, initiated by the NEA, to corral artists to address specific issues. This function was not the original intention for creating the National Endowment for the Arts...

And if you think that my fear regarding the arts becoming a tool of the state is still unfounded, I leave you with a few statements made by the NEA to the art community participants on the conference call. “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally?…bare with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely… "

Illegal aliens can get healthcare benefits under House bill: Congressional Research Service (HR 3200) - 08/26/09

The Congressional Research Service - part of the Library of Congress - now confirms that illegal aliens will be able to access healthcare benefits under the House healthcare reform bill (HR 3200).

Little Green Footballs has ObamaCare questions - 08/24/09

Someone associated with Little Green Footballs has compiled a list of questions about Obama healthcare here. There are several dozen questions and they're encouraging their readers to go ask them at townhalls and the like.

Brooks Jackson of FactCheck misleads about illegal aliens and ObamaCare - 08/24/09

On August 14, Brooks Jackson, Viveca Novak, Lori Robertson and Jess Henig of FactCheck offered the misleading article "Seven Falsehoods About Health Care" (factcheck.org/2009/08/seven-falsehoods-about-health-care), proving once again that Fact Check is not a credible source.

They misleadingly claim that illegal aliens won't be covered under Obama healthcare, pointing to Section 246 of H.R. 3200 which says:

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

For why that's highly misleading, see the links in the first item here. It all depends on your temporal reference point: those who are then-current illegal aliens might not be covered (or instead might be covered through loopholes and fraud), but those who are now-current illegal aliens will be covered if Obama gets his way. Got that? See the last link for an explanation.

Looking into FactCheck's other six points is left as an exercise; some or all may be as misleading as the one discussed here.

Obama lies about illegal aliens covered under Obamacare; abortions, "death panels" - 08/23/09

In yesterday's radio address, Barack Obama said [1]:

So today, I want to spend a few minutes debunking some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the internet, on cable TV, and repeated at some town halls across this country... Let's start with the false claim that illegal immigrants will get health insurance under reform. That’s not true. Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has never even been on the table. Some are also saying that coverage for abortions would be mandated under reform. Also false. When it comes to the current ban on using tax dollars for abortions, nothing will change under reform. And as every credible person who has looked into it has said, there are no so-called "death panels" – an offensive notion to me and to the American people. These are phony claims meant to divide us.

Now, see this for an explanation of why Obama is trying to deceive you.

[1] whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/
WEEKLY-ADDRESS-President-Obama-Debunks-Phony-Claims-about-Health-Reform-Emphasizes-Consumer-Protections

New York Times now admits: "A Basis Is Seen for Some Health Plan Fears Among the Elderly" - 08/22/09

On August 13, Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes of the New York Times offered "False 'Death Panel' Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots" (link):

The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks... Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party’s last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.

Now, via this, there's newtruth as Robert Pear of the NYT offers "A Basis Is Seen for Some Health Plan Fears Among the Elderly" (link):

White House officials and Democrats in Congress say the fears of older Americans about possible rationing of health care are based on myths and falsehoods. But Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational... The zeal for cutting health costs, combined with proposals to compare the effectiveness of various treatments and to counsel seniors on end-of-life care, may explain why some people think the legislation is about rationing, which could affect access to the most expensive services in the final months of life.

Chuck Todd misleads about Obamacare (illegal alien coverage, abortions, Calvin Woodward) - 08/19/09

Chuck Todd (and/or Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg) of MSNBC offer this:

One of the reasons why the public appears so wary about Obama’s health-care plans is due to all the misinformation out there. Majorities in [a new NBC News poll] believe the plans would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants (55%), would lead to a government takeover of the health system (54%), and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions (50%) -- all claims that nonpartisan fact-checkers say are untrue about the legislation that has emerged so far from Congress. Additionally, 45% think the reform proposals would allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care for the elderly, which also isn’t true.

This illustrates once again why it would be nice if I could get some help in my attempts to discredit "nonpartisan fact-checkers" like FactCheck, Politifact, and Snopes:

1. According to FAIR, illegal aliens would be able to obtain coverage, at least given the state of one of the bills (link). More importantly, Obama himself says that his goal is to get around giving healthcare to illegal aliens by simply legalizing them first. And, he wants illegal alien children to be covered under his plan.

2. Even the Associated Press admitted on August 6 that "Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions" (llink).

3. The other two points are basically a matter of opinion and forecasting. Since a national healthcare scheme wouldn't have unlimited resources, some form of rationing would have to come into play, and that would involve the government deciding that some groups of people get more resources than others.

UPDATE: Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press offers what's called by the Washington Post "FACT CHECK: Health overhaul myths taking root" (link). It came out about 12 hours after the First Read article, it addresses the same poll in the same way, and it's also misleading. Woodward states that "[t]he proposals being negotiated do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants." See the first above. On abortion, Woodward basically admits that critics could be right: "[y]et abortion guidelines are not yet clear for the government-supervised insurance exchange. There is strong sentiment in Congress on both sides of the issue."

UPDATE 2: For a detailed explanation that, yes, illegal aliens would be able to obtain healthcare under the plan, see this. See also this August 3 article from Rep. Lamar Smith:

The Democrats’ bill in the House, 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.

The bill also leaves open the possibility that if one citizen family member is eligible for benefits, then the entire family — including illegal immigrants — is also eligible for the benefits.

David Axelrod conflict-of-interest? Getting $2 million from former company that's now pushing Obamacare (PhRMA) - 08/18/09

Obama administration official David Axelrod is due to receive $2 million starting next year from his former company, AKPD Message and Media (he was the sole shareholder and he sold his interest after Obama won). And, per this, AKPD is now receiving "huge fees" "from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA". And, H.E.N. is pushing for healthcare reform.

Is that a conflict of interest? Only someone who specializes in these issues can answer that, but FWIW Robert Gibbs, when asked about this, didn't think so [1]:

[The $2 million payout] was made because David started and owned the firm. He left the firm, and if I'm not mistaken, is being paid for the fact that he created it and sold it, which, I think, is somewhat based on the free market.

The "supporters" of Healthy Economy Now include (healthyeconomynow.org/about.html): PhRMA, AARP, Advanced Medical Technology Association, American Medical Association, Business Roundtable, FamiliesUSA, and the Service Employees International Union. PhRMA "represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies" (phrma.org/about_phrma).

Note also that Axelrod's "astroturfing" company operates from the same address as AKPD; whether he still has an interest in that company isn't known.

[1] politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0809/Gibbs_defends_PhRMA_payments.html

NRA member "Randy the Welder" unwittingly helps Obama at Montana townhall - 08/18/09

The video here from Obama's August 14 health care townhall in Montana shows a local welder taking around a minute to ask him a question. He first points out that he's a proud NRA member, then gives a shout-out to cable news (presumably Fox News), and then launches into an incredibly weak question. He basically wants to know how Obama is going to pay for all this stuff.

Obama administration no longer publicly seeking citizen informants; their plan tracked my satire - 08/17/09

Back on August 4, the White House blog briefly acted like a toned-down earthtones Stasi and said (whitehouse.gov/blog/facts-are-stubborn-things):

If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Now, per this, emails sent to that address bounce back with a message suggesting that the sender visits whitehouse.gov/realitycheck instead.

In thinking back, I think the Obama administration got this idea from me. In October of last year, I posted the following satirical proposal to a fake blog I created housed at my.barackobama.com:

What the Obama campaign should do is set up a "Neighbor2Neighbor" program. When someone in your community starts spreading lies, you can go to the Obama website and fill out an "incident" form, typing in the person's name, their contact information, and a description of the lies and smears they're peddling. A "campaign counselor" can then contact them by phone to discuss with them all the ways they're wrong. In extreme cases, counselors can even go out to the person's home and try to talk some sense into them. Obama himself said we need to get into peoples' faces and convince them to vote for him, and this program will help us do just that. Of course, the campaign shouldn't reveal the name of the tipster, but after the (former!) "smear spreader" sees the light they'll be grateful to whoever filed the tip.

I guess I forgot the satire tag and they took it seriously.

"Becky": poster girl for unwitting supporters of Obamacare (townhall ranter) - 08/15/09

The attached video features someone who, not knowing her real name, I'll call "Becky". Becky is helping push Obama healthcare, even if she thinks she's doing the opposite. She's not alone: all those I've seen so far who think they're opposing Obamacare are in effect either helping promote it or aren't doing as good a job to oppose it as they could.

Ask better questions about illegal aliens receiving healthcare at townhalls - 08/14/09

Apparently some of the questions at recent townhalls have been about illegal aliens receiving Obama healthcare. Unfortunately, if the report at [1] is accurate, the questions have been weak and may have actually helped the Democrats rather than revealed what they intend to do. As detailed by Obama himself, the Democrats do intend to give UHC to current illegal aliens by changing their status first.

Even if Palin is right about "death panels", will her supporters be able to do anything about it? - 08/13/09

I'm not familiar with the details of Obama healthcare so I don't know whether this post is right or not when it says that Sarah Palin wasn't wrong when she wrote the following:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

What I do know is that a wide variety of MSM and non-MSM sources have already mocked her over this. And, I also know that her leading supporters won't be able to do much about it because actually doing things isn't their "forte". They aren't the "doer" type.

If those leading supporters had a clue, they'd follow the tips here, adapting them to the present situation. Specifically, they'd encourage their readers to help discredit those MSM figures who haven't told the truth about this issue.

For a tangible example, the Spectator link claims that the New York Times didn't tell the whole truth about this matter, but without providing the name of the NYT reporter and without attempting to show that reporter's readers how she's misleading them. As can be seen from recent posts like this, this, or this, that's not how we do things around here. If we discussed that, we'd feature her name in the title of the post in a bid to show her readers how she's misleading them (if she is; the NYT report is here). Or, the Spectator could encourage their readers to point out in the comments sections of blogs and newspaper sites how those discussing the panels aren't being truthful.

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