Ira Mehlman
The professional chattering class - the men and women who appear on television and radio and explain how the world works to the rest of us- are fond of castigating politicians who vote on complex legislation without having read the bills. It seems the politicians are not the only ones who refuse to let ignorance get in the way of expressing an opinion.

As the summer of discontent drags on, the news media are replete with reports about raucous town hall meetings filled with angry constituents upset about various aspects of H.R. 3200, the America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 (AAHCA). At town hall meetings, Members of Congress intrepid enough to actually face the people they represent have been asked to address why H.R. 3200 will allow illegal aliens to obtain publicly-funded health care.

Perhaps more than any other criticism of the health care reform bill, it is this assertion that drives the Washington pundits crazy. It also serves, in their minds, as a prime example of how the public is being whipped into a frenzy by President Obama's political adversaries.

"Pants on fire," declares the politifacts.com website, calling the assertion that illegal aliens would benefit from the program a blatant lie. NBC Nightly News found a health care expert from academia to flatly dismiss the concerns of the hysterical masses. So did the Orwellian named CNN Truth Squad, which called in another academic health care expert to deny that illegal aliens would be covered under the House bill. For those who might have missed the first verdict, Anderson Cooper assembled a group of political experts a few nights later who similarly ruled that concerned citizens have regrettably been drinking the Kool-Aid served up by opponents of the bill.

What all of these "experts," like a lot of members of Congress who will be voting on the bill, have in common is that they haven't read the bill, or, if they have, they failed to take note of what is not in the bill. Nowhere does H.R. 3200 say that illegal aliens are ineligible to enroll in the proposed "public option." To the contrary, Section 202 provides that "all individuals" are eligible for benefits offered through the government exchange unless they are enrolled in another health insurance plan.


Ira Mehlman

Ira Mehlman is the Media Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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