Friday, September 11, 2009

Rep. Wilson Outburst Leads Senate Dems to Close Loophole in Health Reform Bill

"The apologies are out of the way and the offense forgiven. But the underlying policy argument remains, after a Congressman drew fire from both sides of the aisle for his outburst during President Obama's speech Wednesday.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., was criticized for interrupting Obama's address to a joint session of Congress to accuse the president of lying about his health care reform plan prohibiting coverage for illegal immigrants. Wilson quickly apologized, and the White House accepted the apology.

Wilson apologized again Thursday morning, though he also says a massive loophole could wind up in the health care bill: no requirement to prove citizenship for health care coverage.

Among three House committees to pass bills for health reform, only one expressly bans federal funding for proving health coverage to illegal immigrants.

"The Congressional Research Service has indicated that indeed the bills that are before Congress would include illegal aliens," Wilson said. "And I think this is wrong."

Indeed, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service study found that the House health care bill does not restrict illegal immigrants from receiving health care coverage.

House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner amplified the complaint that without proof of citizenship, illegal immigrants could be insured.

"There were two opportunities for House Democrats to make clear that illegal immigrants wouldn't be covered by putting in requirements to show citizenships," he said. "Both of those amendments were, in fact, rejected."

In the Senate, Democrats in the so called "Gang of Six," a group of bipartisan senators on the Senate Finance Committee which is the last panel yet to release its bill, began moving quickly to close the loophole that Wilson helped bring greater attention to."

For the rest of the story click below.

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