New York Times Is Wrong, Wilson Right on Illegal Immigrants

“Mr. Obama didn’t lie.  The bills before Congress declare illegal immigrants to be inelligibile for subsidized benefits.  It is impossible to imagine any final bill doing otherwise.. Mr. Wilson was a boor, but some Republicans still insist that he was right because the bill doesn’t ensure that the undcocumented have no insurance.  Time for a reality check.”

So editorialized the New York Times on Friday, September 11th.  

As the furor continues over the cry of “You lie!” by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) during President Obama’s address on health care on Wednesday (September 9), the national media omits two important details:  1) that a non-partisan study earlier this year backed up Wilson’s conclusion hat the Obama health care measure (H.R. 3200) does, in fact, cover  illegal immigrants, and 2) that Wilson was correct when he told HUMAN EVENTS a day after his outburst that Republican attempts to amend the measure to deny benefits for illegal immigrants were thwarted in two key House committees.

A study by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (and cited by Wilson in his interview with us) dealt precisely with how illegal aliens would be treated by the Obama-backed health care measure.  Entitled “Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200” and authored by Alison Siskin (a specialist in immigration policy) and legislative attorney Erika Lunder, the eight-page study was released by the CRS on August 26, 2009.  

Among its conclusions are  that “H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens participating in and paying for coverage available through the [Health Insurance] Exchange — whether the noncitizens are legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently [italics added].”  (see “Summary,” “Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200”).

In addition, the CRS study concluded that the bill’s changes to the Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) “ could also mean that more noncitizens who meet the categorical and income eligibility standards for Medicaid but are barred due to their immigration status (e.g., nonimmigrants, unauthorized aliens) would be eligible for emergency Medicaid  [italics added].” (See “Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200,” Page Six)  

(Full CRS report here)

 As Wilson also pointed out, two Republican efforts to amend the health care bill to curb its access by non-citzens were defeated in House committees.  On the House Ways and Means Committee, Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) to better screen applicants for subsidized health care to ensure they are actually citizens or otherwise entitled to it.

The Heller Amendment was defeated by a party-line vote of 26-15 on July 15th.

A similar measure by Rep. Nathan Deal (R.-GA.) was offered in the House Energy and Commerce committee to provide verification requirements to prevent illegal aliens from receiving Medicaid benefits.  By a recorded vote of 28 – 29, the measure was not agreed to on July 18th.  

A Footnote:

“Mr. Obama didn’t lie,” the New  York Times editorialized on Friday (September 11), “The bills before Congress declare illegal immigrants to be inelligibile for subsidized benefits.  It is impossible to imagine any final bill doing otherwise..”

After reviewing the CRS study and the vote on two House committees that defeated the Republican amendments to H.R. 3200, we respectfully disagree

So here’s the” reality check” the New York Times wanted.  We say the Times is wrong and Wilson is right.