Yesterday, Dan Stein, Executive Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — an anti-immigrant designated hate group — appeared on MSNBC’s Dr. Nancy claiming that his years of experience tell him that “illegal aliens” will receive coverage if health care reform passes:
STEIN: Well, I’ve been working this issue for almost thirty years. The way H.R. 3200 is drafted, this is the way it’s drafted: illegal aliens can qualify for the public plan. And the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing to retain that language. And for the affordability credits for the subsidy, if one member of the family is here legally, then the entire family can qualify. And most importantly, there’s no way to verify that eligibility standard. So, the bottom line is, based on all these years of watching and experience at FAIR, we know illegal aliens under this bill will get health care.
You’d think 30 years of experience would’ve taught Stein that undocumented and legal immigrants alike rarely qualify for public benefits and health care reform doesn’t look like it’s going to be any exception. If Stein had actually done his research and read the drafted health care reform legislation, he would’ve noticed that Sec. 242 and 246 explicitly state that only individuals who are lawfully present in US will receive any of the benefits provided in the bill. That language also applies to affordability credits, meaning that only family members who are “affordable credit eligible individuals” will receive government assistance and “affordable credit eligible individuals” are defined as someone who is lawfully present in the US.
Even the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — which Stein cites as pressing for inclusion of the undocumented — has issued a statement supporting coverage only for “legal, law abiding” immigrants who pay their “fair share.” In fact, the bill “severely restricts” health care benefits even for legal immigrants.
Ultimately, Stein has his own agenda and it has little do with health care. Today, the Washington Independent reports:
“As the heat gets turned up on the health care reform debate, anti-immigrant activists are using the issue to whip up fear and anger toward immigrants, portraying them as a costly and burdensome drain on any taxpayer-supported U.S. health care system. Angry questions about illegal immigrants getting health care at town hall meetings across the country have put many lawmakers on the defensive…The protesters are spurred on in large part by immigration restrictionist groups who are using the health care debate to spread fears about immigrants.”
Anti-immigrant rhetoric aside, Executive Director of Voto Latino Maria Teresa Kumar — who appeared on the same segment opposite of Stein — also pointed out that the more people who are included in any health insurance plan, the more costs for everyone involved go down.
Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress