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Read the Bill: Illegal Immigrants Are NOT Covered

September 9, 2009 - by Conor Kenny

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) angrily shouted “you lie!” in response to President Obama’s statement during his Wednesday address to Congress that claims of illegal immigrants being covered by the proposed health care reforms were “false.”

Politico ID’d the representative and posted the video, where you can hear the shout at around the 1:20 mark:

This claim of coverage for illegal immigrants has been repeated in viral emails and even in a press release by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), among other places. One viral email proved its case by citing:

Pg 50 Section 152 in HC bill – HC will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

However, as we have blogged before, the claim is easily debunked by simply reading the bill, which you can do, right here, right now. Here’s Section 152:

SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.

(a) In General- Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

Read it yourself: Section 152 in H.R. 3200, the official bill text. >>

Now, one could see how “personal characteristics” could be interpreted as covering one’s immigration status… unless you kept reading to Section 246:

H.R. 3200: Sec 246 — NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS

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

Read it yourself: Section 246 in H.R. 3200, the official bill text. >>

The “subtitle” referred to here is Subtitle C, “Individual Affordability Credits,” which provides funds to low-income people to purchase private health insurance, the only section of the bill that could be construed as providing insurance to illegal immigrants.

Another comment I’ve seen around the web is that until we see specific language stating how the government is going to check IDs and immigration status, any such prohibition is worthless. Well, here’s a little civics lesson: Congress makes laws that are often broad and then directs the Executive Branch to issue regulations carrying out the legislation. Which is exactly what you’d know if you read the second paragraph in the infamous Section 152:

(b) Implementation- To implement the requirement set forth in subsection (a), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, promulgate such regulations as are necessary or appropriate to insure that all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act are provided (whether directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements) without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

Read it yourself: Section 152 in H.R. 3200, the official bill text. >>

So, there it is, in the actual bill text, printed in black and white. FactCheck.org and several others have also debunked this rumor.

The Sunlight Foundation has been urging members of Congress to post bills online for 72 hours so they and everyone else can get a chance to read the bill so they can, you know, understand it and make informed comments before voting. We’ve done part of the work here by posting the bill for everyone to read, but while you can lead a representative to water, you cannot make him drink.

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Comments

Displaying 31-60 of 66 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    sunbruz8 09/10/2009 8:00am

    You’re right about the conservative support – my mistake.

    However, I fail to understand your explanation of “the hatred” – what power do the people have in the governance of the nation other than the election of officials to represent us? I mean, seriously, go take a poli-sci course – that’s how it works! It just so happens that people you disagree with are in the majority right now. They aren’t trying to rip power from you, “trample” you, or ignore you. They’re listening to the people who elected them. While I understand that many people are opposed to this bill, there are obviously many people who are in favor of it. To say that the legislative system we have in place makes us a “Neo-Eurotrash country” is like throwing a temper-tantrum because you’re not getting your way.

  • Comm_reply
    Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:37pm

    Not all of us are so much in love with that “capitalistic” bit. All that nonsense about “government death panels” is a dramatization of what we already have. Today, “corporate death panels” decide whether I may have an operation. Today, those corporate panels leach money out of working people for decades, just to cast them away when they no longer look profitable. That is what “capitalism” gets us.

  • jlohman 09/10/2009 6:13am

    Oh Damn, here we go again. HR3200 may not cover illegal aliens, but other laws do. So what’s the difference? Yea, we should solve our illegal immigration problem, but not by denying health care to immigrants and their children.

    HR3200 is nonetheless a bad bill because it leaves the insurance industry in the loop, not just to reward them for past contributions but to ensure the political cash flow for the future.


    Jack Lohman
    http://MoneyedPoliticians.net
    http://SinglePayer.info

  • Comm_reply
    Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:44pm

    “but not by denying health care to immigrants and their children.”

    Any rational government would be prepared to capture illegals when they applied for benefits. Illegals are by definition criminals. Requesting medical care that will be paid for by taxpayers only adds to their criminal status.

    Mandate that the doctor will NOT be paid for treating criminals, give the doctor a phone number, and when a criminal shows up for treatment, he just calls the cops.

    Oh yeah – let’s stop this nonsense that prohibits a city cop from questioning an obvious illegal…….

  • CongressCritter 09/10/2009 6:59am

    As far as the Obama administration is concerned, none of this has anything to do with Health care – this is a power grab that is designed to insure that the opposition i.e., the Republicans(Conservatives) are marginalized forever, just as they are in all the European countries where universal insurance “rules the day.” Health care in those countries (as it would be here) is the largest budget line item and all debate is around cost reduction of that item. Conservative “victories” are measured in their ability to reduce the costs but the elephant (no pun intended) always remains in the room forevermore. There is no escape from the system once the “ruling class” has life and death power.

    This is ultimately a battle between individual freedom versus The State. Being a proud American, I will always choose freedom and liberty over tyranny.

    Just my thoughts – not hate.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 10:00am

    Sad that you think European countries are totalitarian backwaters. Maybe it’s not “hate”, but the disinformation seems pretty malicious, unless you really think France, England, Sweden and Germany are awful tyrannies.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 10:16am

    lol… They’re not tyrannies (just based off of socialist ideologies), but they’re pretty awful. ;P

  • Comm_reply
    Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:53pm

    Health care already costs Americans in excess of 3 trillion dollars annually. For the most part, we are unaware of that cost, because so many parasitic corporations split that cost/profit amongst themselves.

    “This is ultimately a battle between individual freedom versus The State. Being a proud American, I will always choose freedom and liberty over tyranny. "

    This is why new laws are passed every year at the insurance company’s behest? “Think of the children” is enough to have the most idiotic laws passed. Seat belt, air bag, and helmet laws are a good place to start. Years ago, I had the freedom to choose whether I would wear a seatbelt – today, tyrannical insurance companies have succeeded in passing laws that mandate a policeman ticket me.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:30am

    If you want a real, feasible solution to health care costs… open up the state borders to allow people to purchase plans across different states. This allows for more competition and will eventually and undoubtedly lead to lower costs.

    I’m not sure why, but I’m amazed that some entrepreneur hasn’t started a new health care company to create this competition on a nationwide basis.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:43am

    In all aspects of life you have pro’s and con’s. My question to all is simple, when you weight the two which one out weights the other. I understand illegal aliens are a big concern to every American, but weight the entire bill in its entirety. I feel you will end with more pro’s than con’s. Just my thoughts on the whole bill.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:54am

    False. The biggest weigh-in on this bill, is the fact that we’re all moving to single-payer health care, and being forced to. Obama was lying throughout his entire speech; not just his illegal immigrant banter. It’s been his plan for health care since day 1.

    In fact… straight from the donkey’s mouth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-bY92mcOdk

    Our choices and freedoms are being stripped away, while our taxes are going to go up astronomically. You ever wonder why he’s trying to change so many things at once? He’s overwhelming the system, creating chaos and segregation and “fundamentally changing” the country in ways that are detrimental to the Constitutional foundations, democracy and prosperity.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:48am

    Please sign up for diversity training to better understand how you have been socialized to think that it is okay to be disrespectful to our President of the United States. We’ll have disagreed with past Presidents such as both Bushes, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, etc. and at no time did anyone ever yell liar or hold signs during a meeting! What is the difference? The current President is Black and we all have been socialized to not accept this, the authority of a minority! Particularly someone who would have had to be submissive and would have been enslaved not to long ago. Some good training would help you to realize that institutionalized racism affects every one of us and is inescapable like the air we breathe. We all are affected by it, need to acknowledge this and seek to understand how it affects our values, biases, and beliefs. I know you regret what you did, but you brought to light what others think and the help that many of us need. I just hope that you seek help now for us all.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:57am

    Wow…

    Yeah, that’s what we need. More diversity training, more political correctness, and less competition for our children. I’m not sure you noticed this or not, but the only ones talking about race are the Democrats and left-wing extremists. Time to re-evaluate your stance on the subject, because maybe you, yourself, are the one with the problem.

  • CongressCritter 09/10/2009 8:03am

    @ Anonymous – The race card really isn’t an argument, it’s just a form of name calling. If you have something substantive to contribute it might be interesting otherwise – it’s just noise.

    For example from your missive “Particularly someone who would have had to be submissive and would have been enslaved not to long ago” – you might mention that during that “not to long ago” the en-slavers were all good ole Southern Democrats. Now that would have been informative.

    Really, health-care is just a subterfuge to big government and less freedom for all Americans no matter what gene pool to which they’re a genetically linked. For instance Obama is a mixture of different genes – we all are – so please let’s stop talking about race – there are no races – just gene pools – enjoy the swimming ;)

    No hate – Just Ideas !

  • jlohman 09/10/2009 8:05am

    As a retired health care provider, I would not favor going across state lines and extending my contract negotiations from 450 Wisconsin companies to 1500 national companies. For several reasons. First, if “competition” is indeed created, the first place insurers are going to cut is in patient care (with an increase of denials). The last place they’ll cut is their exorbitant executive salaries, broker commissions and shareholder salaries.

    But more importantly, the insurance bureaucracy is consuming 31% of our health care costs and should be eliminated, not expanded and certainly not mandated. If you sat down and spent an hour designing a new healthcare system I expect that most would settle on the system 59% of physicians and 70% of the public supports, a Medicare-for-all system.

    Jack Lohman
    http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

  • CongressCritter 09/10/2009 8:13am

    Jack,

    What was your field of expertise “as retired health care provider?” I would like learn more about the industry from an insider., not withstanding the fact that all of this from the big picture perspective has nothing to do with health but all to do with acquisition of more big government power. For example, none of the power brokers will be participating the “new and improved” system. Please educate me.

  • Comm_reply
    jlohman 09/10/2009 4:25pm

    CongressCritter, I owned an independent diagnostic testing facility (IDTF) for 25 years before retiring. We provided mobile echocardiogram and cardiac monitoring services to hospitals and clinics. We did not see patients directly, only when referred to us. We competed with other IDTFs, but when we cut our costs and prices, none of that was ever seen by the patient. It only added to the profits of our customers, the clinics and hospitals.

    And yea, under the House plan (HR3200) the power brokers (the insurance industry) will remain. The politicians have seen to that, because they gave $46 million in campaign contributions in 2008 alone. But the politicians care not what they did in the past, they want them still in the system in the future, because private companies can give campaign contributions and public entities like Medicare can’t.

  • Comm_reply
    jlohman 09/10/2009 4:28pm

    Continued: The best system would eliminate the insurance bureaucracy, but with all of the cash flowing to the political campaigns that won’t happen. What people don’t realize is that these jokers take their orders from the industry and not their constituents.

    What people don’t realize is that for the same dollars we are spending today we could provide first-class Cheney-care to 100% of the people. But our corrupt political system is standing in the way.

  • fightinbluhen51 09/10/2009 8:51am

    If the bill carries no teeth of enforcement, and knowing how the Fed Gov works, does it matter if the bill specifies “no care for illegals” when they take months or years to either verify their legal status?

    Shame on Opencongress’s blog for not doing the back end logical conclusions, for once, an American Politician stood up to the ruling elites and spoke the piece of mind that his constituents and a lot of other Americans have been feeling!

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 8:51am

    When are we going to stop supporting a party and start support ALA AMERICANS. Stop the crazy madness! And REALLY look at what is going on, not what you think is going on. Look at who is getting away with murder, theft, etc. Look at who is and will forever be marginalized in this country because of blatant disrespect!

  • Brittanicus 09/10/2009 9:14am

    We all know that Fraudulent ID is so prevalent, that all security systems have been compromised, with even al-Qaeda murderers who brought down three passenger jets. On 9/11 these terrorists had in their possession numerous authentic drivers’ licenses and other picture ID. E-Verify is not perfect and can be cheated, but as it’s modified, collecting more tools to compliment the enforcement program it success rate will become exemplary. Those hired workers who then find themselves under suspicion, can have errors resolved through any Social Security agency. That special interest groups have remained silent about this matter, doesn’t need any explanation? most Americans want enforcement at our borders, the workplace, so contact your reluctant politician at 202-224-3121 MORE HONEST INFORMATION AT NUMBERSUSA & JUDICIAL WATCH. REMEMBER NO MORE BLANKET AMNESTIES!

  • Brittanicus 09/10/2009 9:14am
    To complete the operation of E-Verification this PC application, must branch out across the country as a permanent tool in business and industry for every worker newly hired or long time employee. Thousands or even millions of illegal workers could be hiding in plain site in the workplace, as they have never been checked as a citizen or legal residency compliance? It also seems that the auditing of 1-9 forms around the country, that the federal authorities forget to mention that irregularities by employers only allows them to dismiss the applicant? The fact is that ICE raids have trailed off, so that any illegal workers—ARE NOT DEPORTED—they can move onto yet another workplace. Anybody who is suspected of being in this sovereign nation illegally should be detained and held for ICE inspection, not released into the public mainstream?
  • Brittanicus 09/10/2009 9:14am

    The only way President Obama has any possibility of passing health care reform, is a commitment to remove illegal immigrants from gaining entrance to any public option? In the health care bill they must—PROVE—to the majority of the American People that—NO ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONAL—will be able to bleed the government extension in the package. An amendment to the 1000 page reform bill, must guarantee—IN THE WORDING— that a very thorough background identity check is performed on any applicant who applies? E-Verify would be a progressive identifier, with an initial examination of Social Security number in conjunction with Homeland Security Databases.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 9:21am

    Man… I should have signed up for an account. It’s really difficult to keep track of who’s posting what. ;P

    Anyway, Jack… that defeats the purpose of competition in a free market economy. All you have to do is look at the car insurance companies. Look at competing plans, the massive campaigns to attract customers, etc. They all compete to offer the best value at the best price, which is what COULD happen to the health care industry in this country.

    There’s always a risk involved with insurance, to the insurer. There’s always a chance someone might get into a car accident and total their car, but that shouldn’t stop them from offering the best value at the best price. If it happens, they’ll be covered, because logistically, not every person with insurance from that company is getting into an accident on the exact same day or thereabout.

  • Comm_reply
    jlohman 09/10/2009 4:38pm

    Anonymous, Competition in healthcare is wishful thinking. Few people will go to the lowest bidder, because low cost often indicates a physician not able to attract patients or a hospital that skimps on cleanliness or technology. So the opposite will be true as the higher priced providers will be at an advantage.

    On the insurance bureaucracy consuming 31% of our health care costs, that is found at www.pnhp.org, and it includes their high CEO and Executive salaries and bonuses, high shareholder profits, actuarial fees, gatekeeper costs, marketing costs and broker commissions, and even the lobbying costs and campaign contributions that they must pass on to the patient. It also includes the added billing personnel at the hospitals and clinics.

  • Comm_reply
    jlohman 09/10/2009 4:40pm

    Anonymous, Competition in healthcare is wishful thinking. Few people will go to the lowest bidder, because low cost often indicates a physician not able to attract patients or a hospital that skimps on cleanliness or technology. So the opposite will be true as the higher priced providers will be at an advantage.

    On the insurance bureaucracy consuming 31% of our health care costs, that is found at www.pnhp.org, and it includes their high CEO and Executive salaries and bonuses, high shareholder profits, actuarial fees, gatekeeper costs, marketing costs and broker commissions, and even the lobbying costs and campaign contributions that they must pass on to the patient. It also includes the added billing personnel at the hospitals and clinics.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 9:29am

    To address your concerns with executives: IF a CEO is responsible/ethical, the first place he’ll cut is his/her own salary. The establishment, reputation and profitability of his/her company is at stake. Those who go into business for themselves, yes, go in to hopefully make money, but also to do something they have an apt for doing… Typically, a responsible entrepreneur pays his employees first and his self last. They take care of their employees, and in so doing, they create a positive environment, where people enjoy their jobs and perform well. Performing well, increases customer base, which in turn increases profit. When profit is incremented, salaries go up, more employees are hired, and you’re able to pay yourself – wallah – success.

    Of course, another option that executives take, is a restructuring of a company, where people lose jobs, titles are changed, responsibilities are shifted, etc.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 9:30am

    To finish my statement:

    There are several ways to save money, but with more competition in the market… you’ll be forced to offer the best value for the best price.

  • Avelino_Maestas 09/10/2009 9:57am

    Perhaps the most salient verification that coverage is not included in H.R. 3200 is the fact that pro-migrant organizations and activists are echoing Rep. Wilson’s remark:

    http://promigrant.org/diary/1003/news-highlight-but-obama-is-a-liar

    And, for good measure, why don’t we throw in a prominent liberal blogger, saying it would be good if coverage was included (while acknowledging it’s not):

    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/09/immigrants-and-health-care.php

  • polidiotic 09/10/2009 10:48am

    You and the bloggers on those sites are taking what Obama says at face value. I think you’re either misinterpreting the bill OR not reading it at all. Obviously this site is reading the bill, as you’ve posted excerpts from it, but I think you’re failing to see the obvious holes that were left open, which anyone could take advantage of such a health care plan. The terminology of the bill plays a big role:

    “Nonresident aliens would be exempt from the required coverage, but undocumented immigrants who live in the United States for a certain amount of time during the year would be classified as residents. “Thus, it would appear that unauthorized aliens who meet the substantial presence test would be required under HR 3200 to have health insurance…” -CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/27/health.care.immigrants/)

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