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Illegal Immigrant Health Coverage Unintentional, Democrats Say

December 8, 2009 by  

Illegal immigrant health coverage unintentional, Democrats sayUnder the terms of the recently proposed healthcare legislation, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could receive health benefits from their employers, The Washington Times reports.

Although its supporters say that illegal immigrants will not benefit from healthcare reform, the House and Senate bills do not contain any exemptions to screen out illegal workers who obtain jobs using false identities. Hence, Democrats admit that illegal immigrants may be able to obtain coverage if they mislead their employer about their status.

Some Republicans feel that this loophole will allow any illegal immigrant access to health insurance if they choose to cheat the system.

"This is a complete cover-all-the-gaps federal health insurance for illegals, whether it be under Medicaid, the refundable tax credit or whether it be under their employers who would not be able to verify their employees," Iowa Republican Representative Steve King said, quoted by the news source.

However, Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said that "it’s possible an employee could deceive an employer with a fraudulent document…to gain employment, just as it’s possible for all sorts of criminal activity to occur."

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates restricted immigration, estimates that taxpayers currently contribute $11 billion a year to healthcare for illegal immigrants and that costs will rise to $30 billion if they are offered the same insurance coverage as citizens, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

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