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Health Insurance Reform Daily Mythbuster: 'Free Coverage for Illegal Immigrants?'

Health insurance reform opponents continue to spread myths about components of America's Affordable Health Choices Act, including the thoroughly debunked myth that the House bill will provide taxpayer-financed health coverage for illegal immigrants. The facts disprove their politically divisive distortions and, in some cases, simple misunderstandings of what's in the bill.

Myth:  The House bill will provide “illegal immigrants with free, taxpayer-financed health coverage.”

Fact: This myth has been thoroughly debunked by at least four independent organizations and news media outlets:

1) The nonpartisan Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com debunked this myth as a “Pants On Fire” lie:

“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. The bottom line here is the e-mail is making things up. The bill does not say anything close to ‘All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services.' We rate this chain e-mail statement Pants on Fire!”

2) FactCheck.org debunked this myth as one of “Twenty-Six Lies About H.R. 3200':

“That's simply not what the bill says at all. …The bill does explicitly say that illegal immigrants can't get any government money to pay for health care. Page 143 states: ‘Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.' And as we've said before, current law prohibits illegal immigrants from participating in government health care programs.”

3) Newsweek debunked this myth as one of the “Five Biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate”:

“The House bill doesn't give anyone free health care  Will they [illegal immigrants] be eligible for subsidies to buy health insurance? The House bill says that ‘individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States' will not be allowed to receive subsidies.”

4) The Associated Press debunked this myth in their “Spin meter” article:

“Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, criticized the proposed changes to Medicare … ‘It's $500 billion that won't be going to the elderly,' Norquist said. He added that to achieve Obama's goal of universal coverage, the savings will go to ‘illegal immigrants, people who can self-insure, and healthy 30-year olds who don't want to pay for insurance.' None of the health care bills provides coverage for illegal immigrants.”