Illegal aliens can get healthcare benefits under House bill: Congressional Research Service (HR 3200)

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). This contradicts claims made by Barack Obama, several members of Congress, Chuck Todd, FactCheck, and several other sources and shows yet again the basic untrustworthiness of those sources.

Excerpts from CRS's report are below, but the most important thing is to use this against those sources:

1. Contact those who've misled about this issue and ask them to print a correction. If they won't, use that fact to help discredit them. I'm leaving that as an exercise; try FactCheck first.

2. Go to townhalls and call out members of Congress who've misled about this issue. A question you can ask - in the cases where it applies - has been added to the update here. What I need you to do is to contact local groups that are going to public meetings and urge them to ask that question rather than the bad questions that such groups have been asking.

Excerpts from the CRS report are here, here, and here. From the last:

“H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens – whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently – participating in the Exchange.” H.R. 3200 establishes a Health Insurance Exchange which would provide individuals and small businesses with access to health care plans, including the “public option” to be managed by the government.

CRS also confirms FAIR’s assessment that the House bill does not include a mechanism to prevent illegal aliens from receiving “affordability credits” that would subsidize the purchase of private health insurance. CRS specifically noted the absence “of a provision in the bill specifying the verification procedure.” Because the language is ambiguous, all CRS could reasonably conclude is that any eligibility determination would be the responsibility of the Health Choices Commissioner.

And, from the first and second links, the CRS report says:

"There could be instances where some family members would meet the definition of an eligible individual for purposes of the credit, while other family members would not. For example, in a family consisting of a U.S. citizen married to an unauthorized alien and a U.S. citizen child, the U.S. citizen spouse and child could meet the criteria for being a credit-eligible individual, while the unauthorized alien spouse would not meet the criteria. H.R. 3200 does not expressly address how such a situation would be treated. Therefore, it appears that the Health Choices Commissioner would be responsible for determining how the credits would be administered in the case of mixed-status families."

Needless to say, Obama's Health Choices Commissioner probably wouldn't seek to deny healthcare to anyone in such a situation.

UPDATE: Mariano Castillo of CNN offers " Health care bill has curious coverage for illegal immigrants" (link) which, curiously, only partially tries to spin it in Obama's direction:

While the report found that federal subsidies to obtain health coverage would be restricted to U.S. citizens and legal residents, it also noted that the bill does not specify a citizenship verification system, something that critics say creates a loophole for undocumented immigrants to receive subsidies anyway.

The bill specifically bars illegal immigrants from receiving payments, but opponents of the reform say that without verification, the system is open to abuse.

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, last month proposed an amendment in the House Ways and Means Committee to add a verification process. Democrats on that committee, including Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, voted it down because the rules it called for would be "unworkable," the Democrat said.

"I think the report substantiates the exact opposite of what these critics say," Becerra told CNN.

Because they don't qualify for federal money, undocumented immigrants who want health insurance would pay full freight for coverage, he said.

The issue is that there are - almost assuredly intentional - flaws in the process used to check. For a related example of lax checking, see this.


Krikorian has been blogging about this as well in the National Review Online. So bottom line: Obama explicitly lied to America about illegals not being covered and the media will again cover for him on this.

Obama and the Democrats are stupid to risk political capital by not explicitly barring illegals from any form of subsidized health insurance -- they could just go with the status quo, which requires that illegals be given care, e.g. when they show up at emergency rooms. This is an unfunded federal mandate, and I've not heard any talk of changing it.