Trust, but Verify? Not There Yet on Health Care

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on November 2, 2009

House Democratic leaders have unveiled their health reform bill. The new bill, H.R. 3962, represents the latest iteration, and combines three separate House committees' bills. The combo mega-bill comes in at nearly 2,000 pages. And the legislation includes one eligibility verification provision — proving Joe Wilson was right.

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The trouble is, the immigration status check (starting on p. 228 of the bill) only applies to applicants for the taxpayer-funded insurance premium subsidy. The rest of the loopholes previously identified — assumed eligibility at enrollment in Medicaid, S-CHIP, or the so-called "public option," for instance — that will allow illegal aliens to benefit from these massive health giveaways are intact. But the single verification addition has given Democrats pushing this legislation something to point to and deny that illegal aliens are any longer covered in their bill.

Like their Senate Finance Committee colleagues, House Republicans who've been leading the charge will seek to offer an amendment package that would close the most egregious loopholes in the new bill. Reps. Nathan Deal, Dean Heller, and Joe Wilson will beg the Rules Committee to allow their amendment to be offered during floor debate later this week. If the Democratic leaders were smart, they'd allow the Deal-Heller-Wilson amendment to get a vote. That's pretty much what some of their liberal thought leaders have been saying.

If the Democrats were even smarter, they'd fight to close every single loophole through which an illegal alien can climb and grab health care at taxpayer expense, and then fight to keep the loophole-shutting measures in the Senate-House conference committee's report. Only then would they stand a chance at trying to neutralize the "inconvenient truths" being leveled at their health care initiative. But don't hold your breath.

Topics: Health Care