Illegal Aliens One Step Closer to Getting Health Benefits
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Ways and Means Committee Democrats Reject Amendment Designed to Limit Eligibility WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As estimates of the costs of President Obama's national health care overhaul soar into the trillions of dollars, the powerful House Ways & Means Committee rejected an amendment last Friday that would have limited the taxpayers' liability by ensuring that illegal aliens would not qualify for the bill's health care benefits. In a straight party line vote, the committee's 26 Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to the America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act, H.R. 3200. The Heller amendment would have required the federal government to use the database set up by the federal government for states to determine eligibility for welfare benefits to also ensure that illegal aliens do not enroll in the government-run public health insurance plan. It would also have barred illegal aliens from qualifying for tax credits to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance coverage. The defeated Heller amendment would have required applicants for government provided or subsidized health care to demonstrate eligibility through the Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS) and the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) systems. Similarly, people seeking affordability credits from the government to subsidize the purchase of private insurance would also need to verify their eligibility through IEVS and SAVE. These provisions would have effectively barred illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer funded health care benefits. "At a time when the federal government is running trillion dollar deficits, and the projected costs of the proposed health care overhaul seem to grow with each passing day, the committee that writes our tax laws wants Americans to pay for the health care costs of illegal aliens," stated Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "Given the opportunity to close loopholes that would cost the public billions of dollars each year, Democrats on the committee unanimously rejected an amendment that would bar illegal aliens from a national health care program." The vote by Ways and Means Democrats came the same week that a Zogby International poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe that excluding illegal aliens from national health coverage is an "excellent" or "very good" proposal for curbing costs. Only 20 percent said barring illegal aliens from coverage was a "poor" idea. The committee vote also occurred the same week that Massachusetts announced that it was cutting state subsidized health benefits to legal immigrants, as costs had spiraled beyond the state's ability to pay. "Ironically, immigration -- particularly illegal immigration -- has been one of the driving forces behind the growing number of medically uninsured," Stein noted. "According to the Census Bureau, some 10 million noncitizens lack health coverage -- a figure that does not include their U.S.-citizen children who are also uninsured. "Not only do congressional Democrats and the administration want to ignore the relationship between mass illegal immigration and the growing number of uninsured, they refuse to place any caps on how much American taxpayers should have to pay to provide health benefits to illegal aliens. When it comes to satisfying the demands of the illegal alien lobby, the administration and congressional leaders will spare no expense," concluded Stein. The 26 members of the House Ways & Means Committee opposing the amendment barring illegal aliens from coverage under the America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act are: Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Artur Davis (Ala.), Danny Davis (Ill.), Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Ron Kind (Wis.), John Larson (Conn.), Sander Levin (Mich.), John Lewis (Ga.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Kendrick Meek (Fla.), Richard Neal (Mass.), Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Chairman Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), Linda Sanchez (Calif.), Allyson Schwartz (Pa.), Pete Stark (Calif.), John Tanner (Tenn.), Mike Thompson (Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), and John Yarmuth (Ky.). About FAIR 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. SOURCE FAIR Ira Mehlman of FAIR, +1-206-420-7733