The Next Right-wing Smear Of Health-care Reform: Illegal Immigrants Will Get Benefits! (Er, No, They Won't.)
Great Van Susteren last night on Fox News ran a segment exploring whether or not illegal immigrants were going to be dragged into the health-care debate by conservatives eager to find anything to latch onto to drag the legislation down.
Most notably, Sen. Jon Kyl has been giving them aid and comfort:
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday defended critics of Democratic health care reform plans who claim the proposals would provide subsidized health care to illegal immigrants. Kyl said Democrats have long sought to block curbs on public services for people illegally in the country.
“It’s a logical question for people to ask,” Kyl said during a conference call with reporters, maintaining that during last year’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program debate and other legislative fights, Democrats blocked efforts by Republicans to include curbs on health care for illegal immigrants.
“In the last couple of bills … there were efforts to ensure that only eligible people would get the benefits … those efforts were defeated by Democrats,” Kyl argued, pointing out that hospitals currently are required to provide illegal aliens — as well as anyone else — with health care if they are in need.
“That illegal immigrants get care ... it’s a big burden on hospitals,” Kyl said.
Well, just like the "death panels" and "euthanasia" and "socialized medicine" claims, this one is wholly false, with no basis in reality whatsoever.
Media Matters has compiled a handy list of health-care myths propagated by right-wing talkers, and the "illegal immigrants will receive benefits" is No. 4 on the list:
REALITY: House bill stipulates that those "not lawfully present" may not receive subsidies to purchase insurance. Under the "Individual Affordability Credits" section of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009:
SEC. 242. AFFORDABLE CREDIT ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUAL.
(a) DEFINITION. --
(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) --
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.
Senate HELP bill excludes those "not lawfully present" from federal funding. Under the "Making Coverage Affordable" section of the Affordable Health Choices Act:
(h) NO FEDERAL FUNDING. -- Nothing in this Act shall allow Federal payments for individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
Have no fear: The fact of the claim's provable falsity will not deter the teabaggers from adopting it. Indeed, it probably increases the chances we'll be hearing it a lot more in the days to come.