Democrats’ Health Care Bills Do Not Require Applicants to Verify Citizenship

September 10, 2009 - 7:59 AM
Rep. Joe Wilson's shout-out Wednesday night came in response to President Obama's claim that illegal immigrants would not be covered by the Democrats' health care plan. "You lie!" Wilson (R-S.C.) yelled, drawing frowns from the podium. Was Obama lying?
Joe Wilson

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., watches President Barack Obama deliver a speech on health care reform at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Joe Wilson’s shout-out Wednesday night came in response to President Obama’s claim that illegal immigrants would not be covered by the Democrats’ health care plan.
 
“There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants,” Obama said. “This, too, is false — the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”
 
"You lie!" Wilson (R-S.C.) yelled, drawing frowns from the podium.
 
Was Obama lying?
 
Republicans, in a post-speech “fact-check,” suggested that Obama is stretching the truth:
 
“Nothing in any of the Democrat bills would require individuals to verify their citizenship or identity prior to receiving taxpayer-subsidized benefits—making the President’s promise one that the legislation itself does not keep,” the House Republican conference wrote in a “Myth vs. Fact” news release.
 
But Republican Sen. John McCain told NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday that Obama’s health care reforms do not apply to people who come to the United States illegally.
 
“They do not, as far as I can see, nor should they,” McCain said.
 
McCain also disagreed with his former running mate Sarah Palin that the president’s plan would create death panels.

”No, but there is a $500-billion ‘savings’ in Medicare which has seniors concerned, and in other countries, where they’ve cut back on spending on health care and then health care is rationed – then similar things have happened. Americans are concerned about that – they have a right to be concerned about it,” McCain said.
 
The senator also noted that Obama is counting on $500 billion in Medicare savings -- “without any meaningful medical malpractice reform.”
 
McCain dismissed Obama’s call for tort reform “demonstration projects” in the states. Those pilot projects would not be part of a health care reform bill. According to McCain, “We all know we need medical malpractice reform.”
 
Both McCain and the House Republican Conference disagreed with Obama’s contention that “nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”
 
If the government option is adopted by your employer, and you have employer-provided insurance, then you are not going to be able to keep your current coverage, McCain said. “So that’s false also.”
 
The House Republican Conference pointed to independent experts who have warned that the Democrats’ proposed legislation “would result in millions of Americans losing the coverage they have.” The Congressional Budget Office believes several million would lose their current coverage, while the Urban Institute puts the number at 47 million, and the Lewin Group says the number could total as many as 114 million.
 
On Wednesday night, Obama promised, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.  Period.”
 
But Republicans say Obama’s math does not add up.
 
“There is very little, if anything, in this package that calls for real spending reductions, and a trillion dollars is basically what it’s going to cost. -- and that’s according to the Congressional Budget Office,” Sen. McCain said Thursday morning.
 
“And finally, since the president has not argued against any of these pork barrel projects as he said he would, spending is way up over last year, and ear-marking and pork-barreling continues – his record so far does not indicate any fiscal discipline.”
 
House Republicans note that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that H.R. 3200 would increase the budget deficit by $239 billion over ten years—and “would probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits” thereafter.  The Peter G. Peterson Foundation released a study which found that in its second decade, H.R. 3200 would increase federal deficits by more than $1 trillion.

See related story:
Obama Won’t Give Federal Insurance Benefits to Illegal Aliens, He’ll Make Them Legal First  (Sept. 10, 2009)