Rep. Steve King’s Fudged Math Sets Off Alarm: ‘5,600,000 Illegal Aliens’ Covered By ‘Obamacare’

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) set off an alarm Wednesday morning, warning that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates indicate that 5,600,000 “illegal aliens” may be covered under “Obamacare.” King’s office didn’t do much number-crunching to come up with that big, scary figure. Instead, they relied on sheer inference to reach the nitwit conclusion that millions of undocumented immigrants will be covered by a health care bill that explicitly excludes them.

King’s primitive logic is as follows:

  • 14.1 million “illegal aliens” will make up the 2019 non-Medicare population.
  • If America’s Affordable Health Choices Act is passed, 17 million U.S. residents will still be uninsured in 2019 — nearly half of whom would be undocumented immigrants.
  • That must mean that up to 8.5 million “illegal aliens” will not have health insurance by 2019.
  • 14.1 million “illegal aliens” – 8.5 million uninsured “illegal aliens” = 5.6 million “illegal aliens” covered by America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009
  • However, none of the figures that King cites — including the 5.6 million number that he uses to strike fear in xenophobic hearts — are included in the CBO’s infamous health care bill projections. The CBO’s analysis does not reference the undocumented population other than to point out that the percentage of the uninsured population increases if undocumented immigrants are included in its estimates. There is no reference as to how many undocumented immigrants would be covered by the proposed health care bill because the entire CBO analysis was essentially written under the assumption that undocumented immigrants will not be eligible.

    In a press release distributed this morning, King warns:

    Taxpaying families, already weighed down by bailouts and massive spending bills, cannot afford to pay for health insurance for millions of illegal aliens. Hard and smart working Iowans should not be forced [typo included] pay for illegal aliens to obtain health benefits under any health care reform plan. It is wrong to reward law breakers. The American people are speaking loud and clear and saying, ‘No health care for illegal aliens.’”

    Hard and smart working Iowans rest assured, there is explicit language in the bill exempting undocumented immigrants from its coverage. Sec. 242. of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 explicitly states:

    “For purposes of this division, the term ‘affordable credit eligible individual’ means, subject to subsection (b), an individual who is lawfully present in a State in the United States.”

    andrea

    And if there is still doubt in anyone’s mind, President Obama told Katie Couric last night that “Obamacare” should not include undocumented immigrants. Instead, Obama indicated that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform so that the country doesn’t have an undocumented population to begin with.

    Andrea Christina Nill

    Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress


    Published by the LA Progressive on July 24, 2009
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    About Andrea Christina Nill

    Andrea Nill is an Immigration Researcher/Blogger for ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Law and Society. Prior to joining the center, Andrea was a Communications Associate at the Immigration Policy Center where she founded the blog, Immigration Impact. Andrea was also a Communications Specialist at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), specializing in bilingual public relations. Andrea was born in Guatemala and grew up in upstate New York.