Health Care Provisions Still Soft On Illegal Aliens

Health Care Provisions Still Soft on Illegal Aliens
Amendments Expected to Target Issue

Center For Immigration Studies
Contact: Bryan Griffith, (202) 466-8185,

WASHINGTON (December 2009) Assurances that the two health-care reform bills would not benefit illegal aliens are not accurate. A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies examines in detail the immigration-related provisions of both the House-passed HR 3962 and the bill now being debated in the Senate, HR 3590. The report concludes that the bills, in their current form, would indeed give illegal aliens access to taxpayer-funded health care well beyond emergency medical treatment.

The report, Immigration-Related Provisions of Senate and House Health Reform Bills, is authored by CIS Fellow James R. Edwards, Jr.

Key findings include:

HR 3962 ensures illegal alien access to the exchange and public option. HR 3590 states illegal immigrants are excluded from these.

Both bills ostensibly bar illegal aliens from receiving the premium subsidy, and both bills use some form of eligibility verification for the subsidy.

Both bills expand Medicaid eligibility. Both bills lack verification requirements based on citizenship or immigrant status. Both contain serious loopholes to enroll illegal aliens easily into Medicaid. HR 3962 automatically covers anchor babies.

The eligibility verification process in each bill falls woefully short of protecting taxpayer liability to cover or subsidize people living unlawfully in the United States. Both the House and Senate bills verification processes will encourage large-scale fraud and abuse.

The Senate bill exempts illegal aliens from the mandate that everyone have health insurance or else face a tax penalty. This perverse exemption treats illegal aliens better than the bill treats American citizens.

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The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution that examines the impact of immigration on the United States.