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CNN Truth Squad
The statement: Questions about whether those in the United States illegally would be covered by the health-care bill now before the House of Representatives have been a staple of the raucous public meetings some members of Congress have been hosting during their August break. At least two people raised the issue at a forum held by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, on Wednesday, and Cardin's insistence that "Illegal aliens will not be in this bill — period — the end" was met with a round of jeers.
The facts: The bill, HR 3200, specifically bars coverage for illegal immigrants. Section 246, which is included in the part of the bill that sets up a health insurance exchange, forbids payments "on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." But critics say there is no way to enforce that provision, and the Democratic majority in the House has turned back at least one Republican effort to stiffen citizenship checks.
Henrie Treadwell, a professor of community health and preventative medicine at Atlanta's Morehouse School of Medicine, calls the issue a "red herring." The existing health-care programs Medicare and Medicaid already require those enrolled to provide "a substantial number of documents" to show they're U.S. citizens or legal residents, she said.
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