House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled the final version of the House's health care reform bill this morning, and according to a document prepared by the three House committees that marked up the bill, the final version may include a citizenship verification clause. Floor debate on the bill is expected to begin next week.
The bill would expand current Medicaid coverage to include incomes up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The government will award affordability credits to newly eligible individuals under the plan, and without a verification mechanism in place, illegal aliens could receive credits under the plan. But according to a document that details topline changes to the original bill, a verification mechanism has been included. An amendment offered by Georgia Rep. Nathan Deal during the House's Energy and Commerce Committee's markup failed during a voice vote. The bill's full text has yet to be released, so the full details of verification are unknown at this time.
Legal Status Verification. Establishes a mechanism by which the Commissioner must verify that individuals are citizens or legal immigrants in order to receive affordability credits.
In August, the White House issued a statement expressing the administration's support for a verification mechanism. According the release:
Verification will be required when purchasing health insurance on the exchange. One option is the SAVE program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) which states currently use to make sure that undocumented immigrants don't participate in safety-net programs for which they are ineligible.
A Rasmussen poll conducted in September found that 83 percent of Americans favored proof of citizenship before receiving health care benefits.
Originally Published: Thu, Oct 29th 2009 @ 11:00am EDT