WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," President Obama said in a carefully worded statement to a Joint Session of Congress and the American public last night. The problem, notes the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is that the health care reforms proposed in H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009, clearly would benefit illegal aliens.
"Perhaps the reforms that President Obama advocates would not cover illegal aliens, but those are not the reforms currently under consideration by Congress," commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "H.R. 3200, the legislation that the House will be voting on, would allow illegal aliens to benefit from the government-financed public option, and includes no verification provisions to prevent illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer subsidies to purchase private health insurance."
President Obama's assertion that illegal alien would not be covered under AAHCA is directly contradicted by an August 25 report, Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200, issued by the Congressional Research Service. The nonpartisan research arm of Congress concluded, "H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens - whether legally or illegal present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently - participating in the [Health Insurance] Exchange."
Once in the Exchange, participants are free to enroll in the government run health insurance program. This public option, established under H.R. 3200, would be heavily or entirely subsidized by the American taxpayers. While illegal aliens are barred from receiving "affordability credits" to help pay for private insurance, CRS noted the absence of any mechanism in the bill to verify citizenship or legal residency.
"There is no reason why the controversy over whether illegal aliens will be eligible for massive health care subsidies should persist," said Stein. "The president, congressional leaders, and the public all agree they should not. The authors of H.R. 3200 can easily remove the ambiguities from the House bill, and Senate leaders can include specific language barring illegal aliens from all nonemergency benefits in the bill that is being written in that chamber.
"President Obama himself can also play an important role in seeing to it that his wishes are carried out by publicly urging leaders of both houses to include clear, unambiguous language in their legislation that would preclude illegal aliens from coverage under his health care reform proposal," Stein continued. "FAIR stands ready to work with the White House and congressional leaders to develop legislative language that would make sure that President Obama's pledge to the American people is fulfilled."
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.
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