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Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) offered an amendment to the House Energy and Commerce Committee this morning that would explicitly prohibit illegal aliens from receiving health care benefits under the health care reform bill (H.R. 3200). The amendment was narrowly defeated 28-to-29 after two Blue Dog Democrats on the committee voted against the amendment.

Under the health care bill, states would be required to automatically enroll non-traditional Medicaid individuals to the proposed government-run option, but the bill does not provide any language that would require the states to verify citizenship status before the enrollment. Rep. Deal's amendment would require them to verify an individual's citizenship status before automatically enrolling them.

"There are 11 million-plus illegal aliens in the nation," Rep. Deal said during his introduction of the amendment. "We want to make sure that this bill does not extend benefits to those in the country illegally."

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