Democrats Send Mixed Messages On Insurance For Illegals

House Democrats have taken to the hustings to prove that Rep. Joe Wilson (R-You-Lie) was wrong in insisting that the "Obama plan" would give illegal immigrants access to health insurance. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are going out of their way to prove that Wilson may have had a point. Even though the Senate bill explicitly bans illegal immigrants from receiving new government benefits, based on some deep diving from the Senate Finance Committee, chairman Max Baucus is now going to add a citizenship requirement for access to the new health insurance exchange, according to Time. If the goal is to prevent illegal immigrants from accessing non-emergency health care in this country, then good on ya. But the move suggests a capitulation that will further inflame the debate and provide ammunition to those who believe that the Democratic bills includes backdoors to cover care for illegal immigrants.  Apparently, the standard of truth is this (per Time's Michael Scherer): if Democrats pave a road, they have to somehow figure out how to prevent illegal immigrants from using it, or else they'll be accused of immigrant coddling -- or providing incentives for illegals to stay in or come to the United States.  Of course, maybe it's cruel to prevent illegal immigrants from purchasing health insurance. 

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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