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More on the Joe Wilson Fiasco - Illegal Immigrants Really Won't Get Insurance Under the Bill

September 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

By now, whether you watched the speech last night or not, you’ve probably heard that a member of Congress, Rep. Addison “Joe” Wilson [R, SC-2], shouted “You lie!” in response to President Obama’s statement that healthcare reform will not subsidize insurance for illegal immigrants. Last night after the speech, Conor posted on this blog an explanation of why the President is right and Wilson is wrong – the bill specifically bans illegal immigrants from receiving funds under the bill. The prohibition is contained in sections 246, entitled “No Federal Payments for Undocumented Aliens.”

But as you can see form the comments on Conor’s post, this is not enough to quell concerns.

Conservatives, for example Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, cite a non-partisan Congressional Research Service report (pdf) to back up their claims that, despite the legislative text to the contrary, the bill will cover illegal immigrants. “Since HR3200 doesn’t require people to establish citizenship or legal residency before applying to exchanges for health insurance, including the public option, taxpayer money will certainly flow to illegal immigrants,” Morrissey writes.

The CRS report does in fact state that “H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in the Exchange.” But being able to participate and buy insurance through the Exchange would not make it possible for illegal immigrants to get their insurance subsidized. They would be able to purchase insurance through the public option, but they would have to pay full market rates for the policy. The public option and the exchange are available to everyone who is shopping for healthcare, whether they are receiving subsidies and affordability credits or not.

A critically important point here is that the public option will not be federally funded. It will be funded entirely by premiums paid by individuals, just like private insurance companies are. The bill does authorize $2 billion in start-up funds for the public option, but it stipulates that the money must be paid back within two years of the public option taking effect.

Ed Morrissey also brings up a second point in his post at Hot Air. He says that even though the bill specifically bans illegal immigrants from receiving subsidies in the form of affordability credits, it doesn’t provide a strong enforcement mechanism. Indeed, the CRS report states, “absent of a provision in the bill specifying the verification procedure, that the Commissioner would be responsible for determining a mechanism to verify the eligibility of noncitizens for the credits.” The CRS does not say that they think the Commissioner would fail to create a strong enforcement mechanism. That’s all Morrissey. Under the bill, the Commissioner will be required by law to create a mechanism complying with the bill’s requirement that “nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.” You can argue that the Commissioner will fail in this respect, but that would be an abdication of the law as passed by Congress, not a function of the legislation.

Congress could go a step further and spell out their own enforcement mechanism for making sure illegal immigrants don’t get insurance subsidies. Perhaps they should if they think they can do a better job that the Commissioner. But based on the House healthcare bill as currently written, any illegal immigrant receiving insurance backed by federal dollars under the bill would be a failure of government officials in implementation, not a failure of Congress in legislating.

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Displaying 1-30 of 54 total comments.

  • need_to_comment 09/10/2009 7:40am

    Although the bill does state that credits will not be issued to illegals, do you think it may be tested in court by the ACLU much like education? Our leadership believes health insurance is a right not a privilege and the same argument was made for public education for illegals.

    Secondly, “stipulates that the money must be paid back within two years of the public option taking effect.” What if the money isn’t repaid? Will it just be cut off after so many are dependent on it? That’s when real taxpayer money will be used.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 2:13pm

    thanks JOE WILSON for telling OBAMA the truth to his face.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 5:06pm

    Thanks Joe Wilson for making South Carolina look stupid, because our governor wasn’t doing enough on his own. Have you even bothered to read the bill? How about presenting your health care plan? I’m sure the uninsured children of South Carolina appreciate all you have done to make sure they have access to medical care. Oh wait; you haven’t done anything to make sure they have access to medical care! It has become increasingly embarrassing to tell people I live in South Carolina.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:48pm

    (1) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this division, the term ‘affordable credit eligible individual’ means, subject to subsection (b), an individual who is lawfully present in a State in the United States (other than as a nonimmigrant described in a subparagraph (excluding subparagraphs (K), (T), (U), and (V)) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act)—

    101(a)(15)(V)(ii)(I) an immigrant visa is not immediately available to the alien because of a waiting list of applicants for visas under section 203(a)(2)(A); or

    101(a)(15)(V)(ii)(II) the alien’s application for an immigrant visa, or the alien’s application for adjustment of status under section 245, pursuant to the approval of such petition, remains pending.

    And section T makes exceptions for prostitutes and illegals involved in crimes and trafficking (and their families).

    It provides affordability credits for illegal aliens .

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/13/2009 4:12pm

    Enough with exploiting the children. You don’t mention the bums living on the streets that contribute nothing to society and will be sharing the same resources as myself. And they will take up more resources because of addictions to smoking anything that smokes. Their families don’t even want anything to do with them, and I’m supposed to sacrifice what I have in medical in order to be compassionte to them? Get real.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 7:59am

    If the subsidy to purchase health care is done as a tax credit, then you’d have to file with the IRS… Do illegal immigrants file with the IRS?

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 4:19pm

    Ditto. And they all are so shocked…they’ve forgotten the heckling that bush took a few years back in the “sacred” house when he said that medicare and SS would be bankrupt by 2018…
    I for one am happy that someone had the courage to tell him to his face that he is a liar!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 5:00pm

    Actually yes, well…‘some’ do. Our current systems allows them to file using a Fed Tax Id. I’ve always thought it was ironic that we allow illegals to be here ILLEGALLY but as long as the IRS gets theirs the gov’t looks the other way.

    PS – Thank you, Joe for speaking up and being the only honest man in the room!

  • Moderated Comment

  • crazycoombs 09/10/2009 10:04am

    This issue is mute regardless. The main problem with illegal aliens and medical care is not health insurance, but the emergency room. Illegal aliens, not the ones from mars, cost the taxpayer 10.3 Billion dollars a year. That is approx 30 dollars out of every individual that resides in the US, illegals included. Many county hospitals are unable to function and are being turned over to private companies with less capable doctors because they are not able to sustain a zero financial balance. This bill has nothing to do with it. If you are an illegal, most likely making under minimum wage, you couldn’t afford health care regardless.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/11/2009 3:41am

    I agree that problem with illegal aliens and refugees dumped here by church groups is their abuse of emergency rooms. Come on Joe, let’s introduce legislation that prohibits illegals and any non-american from accessing health reform but also emergency rooms,education—unless they pay for it upfront first. Illegals and non-americans should be banned from receiving any free education, foodstamps, welfare, housing, etc. DEPORT every illegal alien and the problem would be solved!! Also, let’s eliminate the “anchor baby” provision—if one is born to al illegal alien or non-american, that baby is illegal/non-american and unable to access any entitlements. I am sick and tired of these illegals and refugees overwhelming our hospitals/clinics and also having the nerve to waltz into Social security and try to get SS or SSI—even though they don’t belong here. Enough is enough!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/11/2009 4:44am

    Right on to Anonymous and orderintdummetuant! There is the lie. Joe Wilson may not have followed protocal, but he absolutely followed the truth. Deception is a lie. I saw and heard the president just yesterday when pointedly asked about illegal healthcare. He said, “They will continue to be covered as they always have, through the ER.” He said in his speech one of the two goals for healthcare reform was to bring down healthcare costs, We have to." So the lie comes in the form of deception. Illegals will not be covered on his healthcare plan BECAUSE, they don’t need to be. WOW!! We, the taxpayer will continue to pay for their healthcare. Hospitals get a penance from the government and the rest from us with HIGHER COSTS to us and even if we have good insurance, we still owe. I will take the truth any day over protocal. Joe Wilson was right on and the country could use a lot more like him in Washington. Texas Granny.

  • oderintdummetuant 09/10/2009 10:13am

    The Commissioner is supposed to create a mechanism to ensure affordability credits aren’t offered to illegal immigrants…, but he’s got 18 months to do that…., what happens during those 18 months? I’m really curious not trying to be smart mouthed.
    As for the paying back of the initial startup funds and for how tax payer money will be utilized. Donny, its not possible that you’ve ever held a federal position. I’m an officer in the Army and I’m just saying, money management is an absolute joke.
    Just a question, but what government program has ever been appropriated and managed properly?
    This plan will not work other than to bankrupt private industry and rob from the citizenry.

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 09/10/2009 10:21am

    Yeah, so it comes down to a question of, can the government do things, or are they destined to fail? Basically, it’s THE divisive question in this country. If you’re answer is that they always fail, then you probably think the whole project of healthcare reform is a mistake. But that’s the real discussion worth having on this issue; not whether the bill is going to provide health insurance for illegal immigrants. It’s not.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 12:05pm

    Agreed Donny. I think you hit the nail on the head. What’s important to keep in mind though is that the precedence set by this bill is a broad stroke against freedoms. I’m not saying it will instantly destroy our freedom, but its giving an enormous amount of power over to the federal government and broad power to the “Commissioner”. Let’s be honest Donny, the public option aspect has been about affordability through creating competition right? You and I know we can achieve competition with out a federally funded public option. I don’t think reform is a mistake, but I do think the government always fails to live up to its promises. Or rather I think they can do things, they just never do them as well as they promise they will.

  • Comm_reply
    oderintdummetuant 09/10/2009 12:18pm

    The above comment was me I just wasn’t logged in Donny.
    I can’t really say that its really THE question. When you are talking about a bill like this there’s a lot to it. People don’t trust the government and that’s not really hard to understand. The ideology espoused by many supporters or left wingers or Democrats (whatever I’m just alluding to the group in general) is communal. I get it and I think it often comes from a good place, but there is a sacrifice that comes with it. Civil liberties, individual freedom, autonomy from the system, there is a balance somewhere. I don’t think this bill will offer that balance, it is and will continue to tear the country apart, sadly along long established party lines.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 8:06pm

    Donny do not agree that the immigrants referred to in subparagraphs T and V of section 101(a)(15) of section A of the Immigration and Nationality Act are illegal immigrants?

    If they entered the country illegally it makes them an illegal immigrants.

    How can you say that the bill does not provide affordability credits for illegal immigrants when it does? or are you pulling an Oboma play on words because the document that defines the illegals that will be covered is not part of the bill but another document made reference to in the bill?


  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 11:24am

    There is also laws that say ‘Illegle Aliens’ are not allowed to be in the United States in the first place. There are here. How many million is it up to now? There are also laws that don’t allow illegal aliens to drive cars. They are driving. Most don’t have auto insurance. Who pays for their accidents? Answer: LEGAL TAXPAYING CITIZENS


  • kat14 09/10/2009 12:58pm

    I have never been prouder or South Caroliner! Go Joe!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 09/10/2009 5:14pm

    Shame on you kat14 for cheering on Joe Wilson’s horrible behavior. It’s no wonder so many people think South Carolinians are ignorant, Confederate flag waving, hicks.

  • Comm_reply
    gizmo7747 09/11/2009 4:47am

    I was stationed in South Carolina and that is a great State and has some of the best people in the world, Very helpful and warm and understanding people.
    So to say that Joe Wilson has state what most Americans with any sense secretly want to say. And at least Kat has a name tied to the post mr anyone hiding in the shadows.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 1:20pm

    There are no aliens on the planet. There individual are not aliens, they are immigrants that came over to the United States. However, I do understand that the immigrants are utilizing the system and that is why the US is in this situation.

  • Moderated Comment

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 1:23pm

    If that were Bush speaking would he have been disrepected. I don’t think so, Joe you need to be voted out of congress…….

  • Comm_reply
    gizmo7747 09/11/2009 4:49am

    Bush was always disrespected, get it right Ghost.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 2:29pm

    Way to go Joe! Thanks for having the courage and wavos for finally, someone in Congress to speak up and say the truth. I truly wish you were my Congressman in Arkansas!!! It amazes me that Obama, during his speech called the Town hall meeting attendees, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party attendees and anyone who opposes this herrendous Bill all Liars but pray tell, you better not call this ‘leader’ a liar. What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander!!!

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 4:13pm

    You should be ashamed Joe Wilson!

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 4:32pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I applaud Joe Wilson! He only said what MILLIONS of us at home were shouting! Finally someone had the cajones to speak the truth! I only regret that he was forced to apologize. Did anyone ever make the Democrats apologize when Bush was heckled and booed? Keep up the good work Joe!!!

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 5:44pm

    South Carolina is fielding quite a foul bunch of politicians these days. Wilson boorishly disrespects the president and then gives a cloying apology to mollify independent voters. His website has been offline since, apparently overloaded with folks trying to comment on his behavior. Stanford and his peccadilloes have kept the entire country in rapture with newsy astonishment. Some have said that you get the government you deserve. I am from Alaska and fortunately we shed our political embarrassment – maybe we just deserve better than South Carolina.

  • Anonymous 09/10/2009 6:32pm

    Illegal invaders are absolutely eligible for care under the bill. They cannot receive Affordability Credits which are just a mechanism to drop the premiums for households under 300% of the federal poverty line. NOTHING in Section 246 prevents illegal invaders from buying into the government program. Section 152 very clearly states that this insurance must be available to anyone who wants it without “discrimination” of any kind. So yes, this government plan absolutely and without doubt WILL be available to illegals, they will just have to pay the same premium as any middle class American would. Any statment to the contrary is an outright lie. Don’t take my word for it, go read the legislation and stop listening to lazy half-baked “fact checkers” who are unable to do their jobs.

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