August 14th, 2009
05:22 PM ET

Will new health bill cover illegal immigrants?

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/12/art.healthcare.bill.jpg" caption="CNN answers your questions about the health care reform bill."]

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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Filed under: 360° Q & A • Health Care • Raw Politics
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    Just read some of these comments and you see why this is such a mess. America, home of the free and the brave, and now the hypocrital stupid! Health care reform is going to cost me money? Yet some of you think it is OK to continue to provide health care to illegals, and who do you think is paying for that? YOU! We have all these laws, regulations, etc., yet we pick & choose, which ones to follow.
    The left, the right, pro life, pro abortion, "blue dogs", animal lovers, animal haters, unions, non-unions, civil liberty groups, and anyone I missed, probably alot, this is why our health care system is so screwed up!

    August 17, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  2. Angel

    Anderson Cooper,

    How can I become like you?

    August 17, 2009 at 12:35 am |
  3. Tony In Largo, FL

    It shouldn't, period.

    August 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  4. Kate Casey

    HMMM-last time I looked, illegals were still part of the human race. I really have trouble with the far right religious nuts that don't want to cover the illegals. My God isn't that way but I guess they are taught differently. I remember listening to the G. Gordon Liddy radio program years ago and a caller was so angry about the illegal immigrants and wanted drastic action taken against them. Liddy said (It is the only thing he said that I really agree with) "Oh come on now, if you were born in Mexico with a wife and kis, living in poverty, not being able to pull yourself out, and seeing the crime go out of control what would you do? I know that I would do anything to cross into the United States too." For pete's sake these people do the work that we don't want to do for very little money. Most of them send the money home to family member so they can eat. What is wrong with some in our country that think they deserve so much more just because they were lucky enough to be born here?

    August 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
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