We should have "an honest debate" on health care, said Barack Obama in his Aug. 22 radio address, "not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions."
Among the "phony claims" made against the House bill, says the president, are that it provides funding for abortions, guarantees coverage for illegal aliens, contains "death panels" and represents a federal takeover of the health care system.
Is Obama right? Are critics misleading and frightening folks with falsehoods about Obamacare?
Well, let us inspect each of those "phony claims."
Does the House bill fund abortions? No.
However, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee at first voted to exclude abortions from "essential" services, to the howls of NOW, Chairman Henry Waxman conducted a second vote, to drop the anti-abortion amendment. That vote carried.
In short, funding for abortions remains an open question. And whether Obama agrees to drop it to assure passage, he supports the Freedom of Choice Act that would, opponents insist, overturn every state and federal restriction, including the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funding. Obama has already used his authority to lift the Reagan administration prohibition against using foreign aid funds to procure abortions abroad.
Obama is a pro-abortion absolutist. And if abortion-funding is not in the final health care bill, does anyone doubt that Democrats will move swiftly to incorporate it in future legislation?
As for illegal aliens, Obama is right again. They are not covered in any of the five bills. All their children are automatic citizens and are covered, however. And no illegal alien who comes to an emergency room can be denied care. And there is no eligibility verification screening provided for in any of the bills to sort out and exclude illegal aliens.
Obama said in Mexico City he is determined to put our 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens on a "path to citizenship." That would make them legal immigrants. And legal immigrants are covered.
Moreover, a high percentage of all immigrants, legal and illegal, are poor, uneducated, unskilled and unable to find the kind of jobs that carry health insurance. We have some 40 million immigrants today, with another 100 million expected by 2050.
Any national health insurance system put in place today is going to be swamped if we do not close the borders and halt immigration.