Friday, July 31, 2009
St. Petersburg Times
It may be the longest chain e-mail we've ever received. A page-by-page analysis of the House health care bill argues that reform will end the health care system as we know it: "Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed! ... Page 42: The 'Health Choices Commissioner' will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. ... Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services."
Most of the e-mail's claims are wrong, and you can read our extended analysis to find out why.
One of its most bizarre claims is the one about free health care for non-citizens, "illegal or not."
We read the bill and its legislative summary, and could find nothing about free health care for anyone, much less non-citizens.
To confirm our examination, we turned to Jennifer Tolbert, an independent health care analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan foundation that studies health care reform. Tolbert has read and analyzed all the major health proposals, including those of the Republicans, and the foundation provides point-by-point analyses of the plans on its Web site.
"No one's provided with free health care. That's ridiculous," she said.
Page 50, which the e-mail references, is part of Section 152, which includes a generic non-discrimination clause saying that insurers may not discriminate with regard to "personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."
The section says nothing about "non-US citizens" or immigrants, legal or otherwise. In fact, the legislation specifically states that "undocumented aliens" will not be eligible for credits to help them buy health insurance, in Section 246 on page 143....(Remainder.)