Last night, as part of its now-traditional Friday night news dump, the White House put out a “clarification” of the Obama administration’s position on participation in its proposed health care plan by illegal aliens. For the first time, the White House acknowledged that it will be necessary to implement a verification system so that illegals can’t sign up for Obama’s proposed insurance exchange:
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.
President Obama has thus endorsed the Republican rather than the Democratic position on this issue. In the House Ways and Means Committee, the Republicans tried to amend the Democrats’ health care bill to require use of the SAVE system or a similar safeguard, but their amendment was voted down on a straight party-line vote, confirming that the Democrats did indeed intend for illegal immigrants to obtain coverage under Obamacare:
The House bill, as currently structured, does not offer clear guidelines to ensure that illegal immigrants cannot access taxpayer-funded health care benefits. Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced an amendment that would use two citizenship status verification systems, the Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS) and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) programs, to establish an individual’s eligibility to obtain the bill’s proposed affordability credits or enroll in the public insurance option. Both programs are currently used to determine citizenship status and eligibility for public assistance programs. Safeguards to guarantee that only citizens can access federal health care benefits are necessary, considering that the US Census Bureau currently estimates that 9.6 million of the uninsured are not US citizens. The first Heller amendment failed on a straight party-line vote.
In effect, President Obama has now admitted that Joe Wilson was right. That doesn’t mean, of course, that any verification system will actually be included should Obamacare become law. If controversy over the issue has died down by the time legislation is actually enacted, Congressional Democrats likely will omit such safeguards from the final version of whatever bill eventually passes.