September 11, 2009

From AC360 Sept. 10, 2009. While discussing Rep. Wilson's outburst during the President's speech, Tea Party oganizer Mark Williams says this about illegal immigrants receiving health care benefits:

WILLIAMS: Everybody seems to be leaving one very important thing out of this. And that is, the federal courts have spoken with regard to illegal immigrants or illegal aliens getting benefits, especially health benefits. We tried to bar them from doing that in California back in the '90s, and the federal courts slapped us down.

Even language specifically excluding them is not going to stand a court battle. So, whatever Obama believes -- and, for that matter, I don't even know what bill he was talking about. Does he have a proposal? Does he have a plan? What's he even talking about?

He and Roland Martin get into it in the above segment after the commercial break where Williams reiterates what he said about the courts, and Martin insists that there are no provisions for illegal immigrants to receive benefits in any of the proposed health care legislation.

Dave Neiwert gave me his slant on this:

Illegal immigrants entering an emergency room for treatment will be covered under any health-reform plan – because they are already. It’s a basic legal matter that emergency rooms cannot turn away anyone in need of emergency care. The courts have indeed decided this. The question is, does Mark Williams want it otherwise? Does he want emergency rooms deciding who lives and who dies depending on their ability to prove their citizenship? Does he want people to die on emergency-room doorsteps because they are undocumented?

Undocumented immigrants get no insurance benefits under the Obama plan, but the costs of their care will be covered under a more sane system. The taxpayers will wind up covering the costs, as they do now, but the costs should be less because the payment system will be more direct.

Those are the questions Roland Martin or anyone on that panel should have been asking Williams, but I guess that's expecting too much of CNN. I also would have liked for one of them to ask Williams if he thinks going to an emergency room is the equivalent of having health care coverage as I've heard one too many Republican member of Congress assert.

BLITZER: Let's get back to our panel talking strategy on health care reform and Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst, CNN's Candy Crowley joining us, political contributor Roland Martin, and Tea Party Express organizer Mark Williams.

We're going to get what Dana just reported. But, Mark, I want to give you a chance to respond to what Roland said, that John McCain himself agrees with the president that nothing in this legislation would give illegal immigrants in the United States the opportunity to gain from this proposed legislation.

WILLIAMS: Well, Wolf, it doesn't have to, because the courts have already spoken on. And that they will speak again if -- if -- if it happens.

But this bitterness that supposedly is directed toward Obama, if I have learned anything in my work with, it's that it's not bitterness. It's outrage at the socialist policies being embraced by this administration.

MARTIN: Nonsense. It's bitterness.

WILLIAMS: And that goes -- that goes double for W., by the way.

And, as far as the Republican Party goes, it's no surprise to any of us working stiffs out here that they allow themselves to be a doormat for what is happening in Washington, D.C.

The fact of the matter is, the Republican Party, as a whole, is absent without leave from this debate. And our representatives, our elected representatives, are falling down on the job of upholding and protecting the Constitution. And that's why the American people are rising.

That's why I had almost 10,000 people outside Chicago at our tea party the other day. People are sick and tired of being abused and then being called a mob of Nazis because they object to that.

BLITZER: All right.

WILLIAMS: We're the people who pay the bills.

BLITZER: Roland...

MARTIN: Wolf, here's the deal.

BLITZER: ... let me bring you into this conversation.

You just heard what Dana reported, that moderate Democrats are encouraged by what the president is saying. But here's the question to you. Will these liberal members of -- of Congress go ahead and support legislation if it doesn't include the public option?

MARTIN: Look, I think the liberals and the moderates are going to have to give on the issue. But the most important thing is, they recognize they're going to have to get health care reform. The Democrats, this is in their plank. It has been in their plank for a number of years.

There is no way in the world that they are going to allow that this moment, when they're so close, to slip through their fingers, because they cannot blame the Republicans. They will have to accept the blame themselves. Democrats control the House, control the Senate, control the White House. They can't look to anybody else.

They have got to suck it up, come out, pick out their differences to move it forward.

BLITZER: Candy, the political reality is, the president does have decisive majorities in both houses of Congress. In all likelihood, he's going to get what he wants, but not necessarily the public option, right?

CROWLEY: The public option is the one thing that even people at the White House have looked at and thought that perhaps it will have to go.

Much depends on what happens in the Senate. But it is a lot easier to see most of the liberals swallowing this and saying, OK, no public option this go-around, maybe we will see down the road if we need one, than it is to see conservatives and moderates accepting it. It just isn't going to happen.

BLITZER: Mark, is there anything...


BLITZER: ... your organization likes about the plans that the president is putting forward?

WILLIAMS: No. Where is the tort reform? Where is -- where is that at? That's the real problem. He doesn't want to take on the trial lawyers.

BLITZER: Well, he did say last night that he...

MARTIN: Wow. Nothing.

BLITZER: ... he would let a test go forward on -- on caps on medical malpractice.

WILLIAMS: Well, that doesn't help the tort reform. That doesn't do anything but -- but hurt me if I'm butchered by somebody not being able to be made whole.

No, he's taking us down a $9 trillion deficit path here that we have no business walking down. We have serious problems in this country.

MARTIN: So, Mark -- Mark...

WILLIAMS: We're in an economic -- we have economic issues. We have social issues. We have international issues. We're -- we're having problems in Afghanistan now.

All of these are major priorities. And this administration is watching its approval ratings drop through the 50s and eventually into the 40s, where it won't be able to accomplish anything. And it needs to accomplish much.

MARTIN: Mark, there's nothing in -- Mark, there's nothing in the bill?

Are you are telling me that you have a problem with the president saying that, if you have a preexisting condition, you're going to now get covered? You don't like that?


WILLIAMS: If I'm -- yes, I will find an insurance company that will cover me. I'm sure that was...


MARTIN: You're not going to find them, Mark. They're not going to cover you.

WILLIAMS: Well, there is probably a good reason, because it's a bad risk.


WILLIAMS: And if he's going to come to me and tell me that I must have insurance, or I'm committing a crime, and then fine me, I don't think so. We all have a right to health care.

MARTIN: Mark, I want you to admit...

WILLIAMS: I have also got a right to a gun. I'm not going to give him to $1,000 for a Glock.

MARTIN: Mark, I want you to admit...

WILLIAMS: I have got a right to free speech, but they're not telling me what to say and how other say it, are they?

MARTIN: So, Mark, if your wife got sick and had a preexisting condition, and the insurance company turned her down, you would say, you know what, honey, guess what, they need to make money, it's a smart move?

You would accept that?

WILLIAMS: If somebody has a record of DWIs, can they still get car insurance someplace?

MARTIN: No, no, no, answer my question, Mark.

WILLIAMS: I'm answering your question.

MARTIN: If your wife had a preexisting condition...


WILLIAMS: In the private sector, where competition reigns...

MARTIN: It's amazing.

WILLIAMS: ... a company would emerge that would take on those high-risk cases.

BLITZER: All right, guys, unfortunately, we have got to leave it to rest there.

MARTIN: They don't exist now.

BLITZER: Roland Martin, Mark Williams, Candy Crowley...

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

BLITZER: ... thanks very much.

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