On Thursday’s radio show, KHOW’s right-wing host Peter Boyles claimed that the Democratic health reform bill, H.R. 3200, contains Orwellian euphemisms. He said that, contrary to Pres. Obama’s statements to a joint session of Congress last night, the bill finances abortions and covers illegal aliens but that it calls abortions “pregnancy reversals” and illegal aliens “undocumented visitors.” But Boyles was either making that up out of whole cloth or he was led astray by an unreliable source, just as he was leading his own listeners astray.
The terms “pregnancy reversal” and “undocumented visitor” appear nowhere in the text of H.R. 3200.
Commenting on Pres. Obama’s address to Congress, Boyles agreed with Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who screamed “You lie!” during the president’s address. Wilson believes undocumented immigrants would be awarded benefits under the Obama health-reform package.
Boyles made a show of fact-checking the president:
The president also follows up with how it doesn’t cover abortions. I have read the bill, it covers pregnancy reversals. It doesn’t cover illegal’s but it covers undocumented visitors. Challenge me…..call the show tell me where I am wrong. I spent hours doing this. Tell me where it doesn’t cover illegal’s. The treatment of non-citizens in H.R. 3200 states definitely there are no restrictions on non-U.S. citizens.”
Boyles played back a portion of Obama’s comments from last night’s speech:
The reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. …And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up. Under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.
Boyles assurance to callers that the terms “pregnancy reversal” and “undocumented visitors” were part of H.R. 3200 might come from his right-wing websites. According to Bucksays.com the legislation “does provide coverage for undocumented visitors.” Blogger “Buck” further notes that while he is “unsure what a pregnancy reversal is, the term is contained in the bill.”
A search of the bill, however, provides no instances of either term occurring in the text.
The term “undocumented” occurred in two places, one instance arguing against Boyles’ assertion that “H.R. 3200 states definitely there are no restrictions on non-U.S. citizens.”
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.
The term “pregnancy” also occurred in two places. The first, in context of the CHIP bill. The second in a section detailing when funds might be used to allow a nurse to make home visits.
SEC. 1703. CHIP and Medicaid Maintenance of Effort.
In this paragraph, the term ‘CHIP enrollee’ means a targeted low-income child or (if the State has elected the option under section 2112, a targeted low-income pregnant woman) who is or otherwise would be (but for acceptable coverage) eligible for child health assistance or pregnancy-related assistance, respectively, under the State child health plan referred to in paragraph (1).’’
Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning St Petersburg Times fact-check site, goes into detail on the question of illegal immigrant coverage under the health reform legislation. After extensive review, it calls the Joe Wilson/Boyles claim false. Illegal immigrants, the site says, are not allowed to receive tax credits to buy insurance under the plan. Further, although It is true that they could buy into a proposed government health care exchange, they would have to pay their way, just as they can buy private health insurance in the United States today.
Most illegal immigrants are also now excluded from Medicaid, the government-run health care for the poor. We didn’t see anything that would change that.
One place where the bill does mention immigration status is for “affordability credits.” These are tax credits for people of modest means need to buy health insurance. The credits would help them buy insurance on a national health insurance exchange. The bill specifically says that people in the United States illegally are not eligible for tax credits, on page 132, section 242.