The White House vs PolitiFact on Illegal Immigrant Health Care
The St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact posted a Truth-O-Meter feature on September 9th claiming “Joe Wilson of South Carolina said Obama lied, but he didn’t.” Justifying her conclusion, Angie Drobnic Holan wrote:
We read all 1,000-plus pages of the health care bill and were struck by the fact that it is largely silent on health care for illegal immigrants. … Most illegal immigrants are also now excluded from Medicaid, the government-run health care for the poor. We didn’t see anything that would change that.
What Holan completely fails to report, however, is that there is a specific program used by Medicaid to make sure that illegal immigrants do not receive Medicaid benefits. It is called the SAVE program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements). During the mark up of H.R. 3200 Republicans in the House offered an amendment that would have required the Obama administration to use SAVE when implementing Obamacare. It was rejected on a party line vote. In other words, H.R. 3200 did not have the same protections that Medicaid does for excluding illegal immigrants. Holan is 100% wrong to suggest otherwise.
The White House has now acknowledged that the current language in H.R. 3200 is completely inadequate. On September 11th, the White House released bullet points identifying changes they wanted to see in health care legislation including:
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.
Holan’s readers deserve a full retraction and Holan owes Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) a sincere apology.