Purporting to quote from a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the health care reform bill "does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present" and that there is "proof that illegal immigrants could very well be covered by the Democrats' health care plan." In fact, Hannity distorted the CRS quote; and the bills under consideration do prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving subsidies to purchase health insurance.
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Hannity cites "proof that illegal immigrants could very well be covered by the Democrats' health care plan"
From the August 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: And finally in "Hannity's America": The president has repeatedly accused his opponents of peddling falsehoods in the health care debate. Now, one of them, he says, is that illegal immigrants will be covered by the bill. Now the Washington Examiner notes that, according to the Congressional Research Service, the critics are right. The bill, quote, "does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present."
Hey, Mr. President, maybe you should stop peddling falsehoods. More Hannity straight ahead.
Bills bar illegal immigrants from receiving subsidies
The House bill states that those "not lawfully present" may not receive subsidies to purchase insurance. Media Matters for America has debunked the myth that the health care reform bills under consideration would cover undocumented immigrants. From the "Individual Affordability Credits" section of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009:
SEC. 242. AFFORDABLE CREDIT ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUAL.
(a) DEFINITION. --
(1) IN GENERAL. -- 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 (other than as a nonimmigrant described in a subparagraph (excluding subparagraphs (K), (T), (U), and (V)) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) --
SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
Senate HELP bill excludes those "not lawfully present" from federal funding. From the "Making Coverage Affordable" section of the Affordable Health Choices Act:
(h) NO FEDERAL FUNDING. -- Nothing in this Act shall allow Federal payments for individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
Hannity distorts CRS quote to make his case
Hannity truncated CRS quote to distort its meaning. In claiming that, according to CRS, the bill "does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present," Hannity distorted the meaning of the CRS quote to make it appear as though the bill places no restrictions at all on illegal immigrants. In fact, the CRS report found that America's Affordable Health Choices Act "does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens [sic] -- whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently -- participating in the Exchange" [emphasis added] -- a reference to the Health Insurance Exchange set up by the bill, which "would provide eligible individuals and small businesses with access to insurers' plans, including the public option, in a comparable way."
From the CRS report, "Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200":
Under H.R. 3200, a "Health Insurance Exchange" would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option. The Exchange would not be an insurer; it would provide eligible individuals and small businesses with access to insurers' plans, including the public option, in a comparable way. Individuals would only be eligible to enroll in an Exchange plan if they were not enrolled in other acceptable coverage (for example, from an employer, Medicare and generally Medicaid). H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens -- whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently -- participating in the Exchange. However, as discussed above, H.R. 3200 would only mandate that resident aliens would be required to have health insurance. [Page 4]
Hannity cited Examiner.com report that falsely attributed quote to CRS. As Media Matters Deputy Research Director Simon Maloy noted, the Examiner.com article Hannity cited misattributed quotes from Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-TX) August 25 press release to CRS. In one instance, Examiner.com reporter Kimberly Dvorak altered a quote from President Obama to change its meaning, wrongly sourced it to the CRS, and falsely claimed it refuted Obama's August 22 radio address.
Hannity previously advanced myth that health care bills will cover undocumented immigrants
Dick Morris on Hannity: "[R]ationing will take place when they tell you, no, you can't have the surgery because we have to give it to a 40-year-old illegal immigrant." On August 17, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said on Hannity, "[W]hether they fund the grief counselor or the end-of-life counselor or not, the rationing will take place when they tell you, no, you can't have the surgery because we have to give it to a 40-year-old illegal immigrant instead." [Hannity, 8/17/09]
Morris on Hannity: "[T]hey're going to cover illegal immigrants." On August 3 on Hannity, Morris claimed that under the Democrats' health reform bills, "they're going to cover illegal immigrants," without noting that the legislation prohibits federal payments for undocumented immigrants. [Hannity, 8/03/09]