Ignoring language in bills, Dick Morris repeatedly claims health reform plans will cover "illegal immigrants"

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Fox News contributor Dick Morris has repeatedly claimed that Democratic plans for health care reform will cover "illegal immigrants" while denying medical care to American citizens, particularly the elderly. However, both the House tri-committee bill and the Senate HELP committee bill explicitly prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving federal payments to purchase insurance.

Morris repeatedly claims reform will result in care for "illegal immigrants" while denying it to elderly

Morris: "[Y]ou can't have the surgery because we have to give it to a 40-year-old illegal immigrant instead." Morris stated on Fox News' Hannity that "whether 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: "Obamacare" would extend full coverage to "illegal immigrants." Morris and Eileen McGann wrote that health care reform plans "would cut care to the elderly," in part because "[e]xpanding the patient load by extending full coverage to 50 million Americans (including such 'Americans' as illegal immigrants) without boosting the supply of care will force rationing decisions on harried and overworked doctors and hospitals." [New York Post, 8/17/09]

Morris: "[T]hey're going to cover illegal immigrants." On Hannity, Morris claimed that under the Democrats' health care reform bills, "they're going to cover illegal immigrants," without noting that the legislation prohibits federal payments for undocumented immigrants. [Hannity, 8/3/09]

Morris: "This thing essentially takes care from the elderly and gives it to immigrants." Morris stated on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor that illegal immigrants "are going to get covered under this thing." He added that "[t]his thing essentially takes care from the elderly and gives it to immigrants. ... Because if you're going to ration medical care, who's not going to get the hip replacement, the 40-year-old or the 80-year-old?" [The O'Reilly Factor, 7/22/09]

Morris: Under health reform plan, services will be denied to the elderly, "going instead to immigrants -- legal and not." Morris and McGann wrote that under "[t]he Obama plan" the elderly will be harmed by "rationing." Morris and McGann further wrote, "And if the bill passes? The howls of protest from the elderly the first time they're denied care will be something to behold. It will become evident that the health-care resources being denied to the elderly are going instead to immigrants -- legal and not. The anger will be enormous and instant." [New York Post, 7/21/09]

Reform bills in the House and Senate explicitly prohibit federal subsidies for undocumented immigrants

House bill stipulates that those "not lawfully present" may not receive subsidies to purchase insurance. Under 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. Under 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.

Media conservatives have a habit of falsely invoking undocumented immigrants to attack legislation

Numerous conservatives falsely claimed stimulus bill gave tax breaks to undocumented immigrants. Conservative media figures and outlets including Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, the Drudge Report, Lou Dobbs, and The Washington Times advanced the false claim that the stimulus bill allowed tax rebate checks to be paid to undocumented immigrants without Social Security numbers. In fact, the legislation disqualifies "nonresident alien[s]" and bars anyone without "a social security number issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration" from eligibility for Making Work Pay tax credits.

Conservative media consistently scapegoat undocumented immigrants. A Media Matters for America report showed that in coverage of major news stories, conservative media figures have repeatedly fallen back on the bogeyman of undocumented immigrants -- frequently blaming them for national crises or accusing them of receiving undeserved benefits from the government.

Transcripts

From the August 17 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: Let me ask this, because the Dems dropped -- they're talking about dropping the public option. I agree with you that that's very deceptive -- we'll get into that in a minute. But, for example, ratting out their neighbors, the death panels they've gotten rid of. They've really pulled back -- go ahead.

MORRIS: Yeah. But the death panels are not gotten rid of. There never was a panel that's going to say "die." What --

HANNITY: The provision -- 420 -- on page 425 of the House bill.

MORRIS: Yeah, all that provides is for counseling, which isn't a bad idea. The point about these death panels is that if you restrict the amount -- the lifesaving surgeries, and you tell someone, no, you can't have that bypass surgery -- but I'm going to die if I don't have it. Well, here's the grief counselor.

That will happen. And whether 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.

[...]

MORRIS: The only profound thing Kathleen Sebelius has said in her entire life, which she said on Sunday, this is not an essential element of the program. It's the rationing and the cutting of care to the elderly that is the essential element of the program.

This program is a device to take medical care from the elderly and give it to largely immigrants.

HANNITY: All right. Dick, good to see you. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

From the August 17 New York Post op-ed by Morris and McGann:

"Reform" would cut care to the elderly in several ways:

* Slash hundreds of billions from Medicare spending, largely by lowering reimbursement rates to doctors and hospitals for patient care.

If a hospital gets less money for each MRI, it will do fewer of them. If a surgeon gets paid less for a heart bypass on a Medicare patient, he'll perform them more rarely. These facts of the marketplace are not only inevitable consequences of Obama's cuts but are also its intended consequence. Without them, his savings will prove illusory.

* Expanding the patient load by extending full coverage to 50 million Americans (including such "Americans" as illegal immigrants) without boosting the supply of care will force rationing decisions on harried and overworked doctors and hospitals.

People with insurance use a lot more health-care resources -- so today's facilities and personnel will have to cope with the increased workload. Busy surgeons will have to decide who would benefit most from their treatment -- de facto rationing. The elderly will, inevitably, be the losers.

From the August 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

MORRIS: There's one fundamental question: How do you cover 50 million new people without any new doctors?

HANNITY: Well, I dispute the 50 million number for a lot of different reasons that you and I have discussed --

MORRIS: Right.

HANNITY: -- in the past. First of all, we don't have 50 million people --

MORRIS: Yeah.

HANNITY: -- many of them are short-term, a lot of them include illegal immigrants.

MORRIS: Right.

HANNITY: You chronicle a lot of this in your book.

MORRIS: But they're going to cover illegal immigrants.

HANNITY: But so that would add to the figure unnecessarily.

MORRIS: Yeah. Exactly.

From the July 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now some conservatives, on the radio particularly, don't want any intrusion into the health care system. They say leave it alone. That's insane.

MORRIS: Well --

O'REILLY: You've got to do something.

MORRIS: Well, first of all, Bill, there are 50 million uninsured people. OK?

O'REILLY: Right.

MORRIS: Ten million are illegal immigrants --

O'REILLY: Right.

MORRIS: -- who are going to get covered under this thing. This thing essentially takes care from the elderly and gives it to immigrants.

O'REILLY: Why does it take care from the elderly?

MORRIS: Because if you're going to ration medical care, who's not going to get the hip replacement, the 40-year-old or the 80-year-old?

O'REILLY: OK. So if you're old you won't get it, because some younger person who might be illegal would get it.

From the July 21 New York Post op-ed by Morris and McGann:

The Obama plan effectively repeals Medicare, putting a Federal Health Board between the elderly and their doctors. This board will instruct public and private insurance carriers on what procedures are to be approved, at what cost and for what patients.

The bulk of this rationing will fall on the elderly. We'll have to revisit the idea that the elderly have, in the words of former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, "a duty to die."

The more word gets out about what the bill contemplates, the firmer opposition will grow. That's why Obama wants to push it through now, while he retains some popularity.

And if the bill passes? The howls of protest from the elderly the first time they're denied care will be something to behold. It will become evident that the health-care resources being denied to the elderly are going instead to immigrants -- legal and not. The anger will be enormous and instant.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Dick Morris
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity
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