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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.

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 9:29am

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.

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

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.

Anonymous 09/10/2009 10:00am
in reply to CongressCritter Sep 10, 2009 6:59am

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.

Anonymous 09/10/2009 10:14am
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 10:13am

More:

He’s hiring 40 czars (who we can’t/don’t vote for – many of which have communist/socialist backgrounds and radical ideologies), he has placed the responsibility of the census under the White House, he’s lied to our faces/television screens on a continuous basis; he and the representatives & senators in office are name-calling constituents, lying to our faces/television screens, denying townhalls, ignoring the complaints/arguments/debates of constituents, etc.

This is no longer a government of, by and for the people… the constituents no longer have a voice.

Anonymous 09/10/2009 10:16am
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 10:00am

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

polidiotic 09/10/2009 11:18am

BTW, do you guys remember this? http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/09/10/flashback_democrats_boo_bush_at_2005_state_of_the_union.html

It would be a double-standard, IF Democrats had any standards. ;]

Avelino_Maestas 09/10/2009 11:58am
in reply to polidiotic Sep 10, 2009 10:48am

Requiring insurance and paying for it are two different things.

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/)

Anonymous 09/10/2009 12:54pm
in reply to Anonymous Sep 09, 2009 8:11pm

Right, because we all carry our passports with us at all times. I thought you Republicans Libertarians were anti-government-issued-ID-card-which-must-be-presented-upon-demand?

Oh, right, that only applies to polling places…

oderintdummetuant 09/10/2009 2:21pm
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 6:46am

What in God’s name did anyone learn from that speech? And discourse means written or spoken debate or a formal discussion or debate. That 48 minute waste of broadcasting power was a pep talk. Nothing was explained, nothing was expounded on. Just more of the same ole’ rhetoric being spouted as factual.

I agree it was inappropriate to comment in such a manner but don’t talk about “if blah blah blah happened when Bush was in office” as a matter of reality it is an impossibility to state what would have happened. You can say it might have happened or probably would have happened .

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.

jlohman 09/10/2009 4:25pm
in reply to CongressCritter Sep 10, 2009 8:13am

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.

jlohman 09/10/2009 4:28pm
in reply to CongressCritter Sep 10, 2009 8:13am

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.

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.

jlohman 09/10/2009 4:38pm
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 9:21am

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.

jlohman 09/10/2009 4:40pm
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 9:21am

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 09/14/2009 11:36am

The reference to Section 246 in the original blog totally mis-construes the contest of the language. The Subtitle C—Individual Affordability Credits. It has nothing to do with eligibility for benefits. This section does appear to deny Affordability Credits to persons “not lawfully” in the US (does not include anchor babies)but has no impact whatsoever on whether or not an illegal can purchase or be covered by the subject health benefits.

I think the other quoted sections, unqualified or restricted by clear language to the contrary, necessarily include illegal aliens as persons eligible to receive benefits under the bill.

Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:28pm
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 3:00am

“This president is depending on his opponents being too "gentlemanly""

No way. Obama got his political experience in Chicago – the land where senator’s seats are sold to the highest bidder. He knows there are no gentlemen in Washington. Obama didn’t even look excited or shocked when the redneck from S. Carolina called him a liar. Look at the video again – it’s almost a look of boredom. “Again? What’s with that trailer trash?”

Don’t tell us about gentlemanly behaviour – unless you’re referring to the common practice of making all the real deals behind closed doors so that Joe Sixpack can’t see what’s going on.

Joe Wilson owes America an apology, in addition to the apology that he owes congress.

Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:33pm
in reply to jraiffie Sep 10, 2009 5:24am

Actually, I think that “we the people” will make it happen, despite your rhetoric. Oh yeah – I think the government is quietly moving ahead with e-verify. Give me a card, and give me the same sort of insurance that I’ve been paying on for years – for my congress critters. I deserve it, thank you very much.

Get over your fear. Demoncrats are no worse than you neocons…..

Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:37pm
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 5:50am

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.

Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:44pm
in reply to jlohman Sep 10, 2009 6:13am

“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…….

Runaway1956 09/12/2009 12:53pm
in reply to CongressCritter Sep 10, 2009 6:59am

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 5:50am

Sun, nice supposition, there. Bush’s Prescription Drug Act did NOT have a lot of support from Republicans/Conservatives – in fact, it was a slap in the face to conservatives.

Yes, illegals receive free emergency health care now, and they’ll continue to receive free emergency health care if this atrocious bill passes.

Also, the hatred? You don’t know where it’s coming from? How about the fact that we, the people, are losing power in the governance of this nation, and that our rights (constitutionally and god-given) are being trampled upon, on a daily basis? How about the fact that millions of people in this country are being deliberately/actively ignored by the President and his Washington cronies in the House and Senate? That’s where the anger (not hatred) is coming from.

There’s outcry, because we don’t want to turn into another, Neo-Eurotrash country, where citizens come second to government… we like our country the way it is – free, capitalist, and a democratic republic.

Anonymous 09/18/2009 10:17am
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 10:13am

Now…have you exercised your freedom to actually investigate the backgrounds of these czars or did someone just tell you that and you believed them? I think it would really help prove your point if you could show factual information that supports your claims that Obama is lying and that the czars are communists. And because you are a free American, you can actually look things up for yourself. So tell me…have you exercised your right to see something with your own two eyes before you believe it?

sunbruz8 09/10/2009 7:59am
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 5:50am

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.

Conor_Kenny 09/09/2009 8:36pm
in reply to parker2000 Sep 09, 2009 7:45pm

I’m sorry, I’m not very clear on your comment. Are you saying that I am critical of the president? My intent was neither to attack nor defend him, it was only to point out that this particular criticism of the bill was not founded in reality.

Anonymous 09/10/2009 10:13am
in reply to sunbruz8 Sep 10, 2009 7:59am

You don’t seem to get it. They’re supposed to be representative of the people – the people of this nation. You don’t need to take a biased poli-sci class, to understand how the government works, and to understand the fundamental values that have been in-place since the structuring of the government by our founding fathers. Read the constitution, read the declaration of independence, realize what the three branches of government are and what their uses are, and understand that this is a Democratic Republic based on the principle that it’s run by the people, for the people and of the people.

There’s a reason why Obama’s polls are slipping as fast as they are… because he’s got an abrasive and radical agenda, and the majority of Americans understand this.

sunbruz8 09/10/2009 8:00am
in reply to Anonymous Sep 10, 2009 5:50am

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.

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