Pres. Barack Obama
Pres. Barack Obama

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During his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening, Pres. Barack Obama directly addressed the issue of health care coverage for illegal aliens. The President said his proposal would not extend benefits to individuals in the country illegally.

There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

However, the House version that passed through three separate committees before the summer recess did not include a mechanism for determining an individual's citizenship status. Section 246 of H.R. 3200 says, "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." But without a citizenship verification requirement, illegal aliens who meet the income requirements could receive vouchers that can be used to purchase health care.

A blog written by NumbersUSA legislative specialist Dr. James Edwards details how illegal aliens could benefit from H.R. 3200 without a verification mechanism. Furthermore, a study conducted by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service concluded that illegal aliens could receive benefits under H.R. 3200.

As the House version made its way through the House in July, two separate amendments were offered during committee markups that would have required citizenship to be verified, but both amendments were defeated. During his speech, the President failed to explain how illegal aliens would be kept from receiving benefits under H.R. 3200. 

For a more detailed analysis, please read, Dr. Edwards' blog. Also, see the results of a newly released Rasmussen Poll that found that 83% of Americans oppose health care benefits for illegal aliens.

NOTE: NumbersUSA does not take a position on the health care reform bill itself, but does oppose the extension of benefits to illegal aliens.

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Updated: Tue, Sep 22nd 2009 @ 11:50am EDT