The House has passed the Lou Barletta (R-PA)-introduced bill that would prohibit illegal immigrants from gaining access to healthcare-tax credits—they must confirm citizenship or legal residence. One, possible route for confirming applicants’ legal status may be through verifying their social-security numbers—a concept some might say is rooted in common sense. The bill passed in a vote of 238-184.
While current, federal laws require individuals to be legal residents or citizens in order to participate in health plans and receive “assistance credits,” there is a loophole. If legal status cannot be “immediately verified,” applicants can still receive these credits temporarily while they obtain proof of their qualification for assistance.
Under Barletta’s new bill, the Treasury Department would be required to verify that tax credit applicants are actual, US citizens or legal residents via the Secretary of Homeland Security or though the Commissioner of Social Security. Barletta believes this piece of legislation would help to reinforce current laws and prevent fraud within the system.
He commented during the House floor debate, “This is about the federal government being good stewards of the money our constituents send to Washington. Every, federal dollar that goes to someone committing fraud is a dollar that is not going to a person who truly needs and deserves assistance.”
Barletta’s bill is one of four, new pieces of legislation regarding healthcare being considered for the GOP’s healthcare reform efforts. It’s part of the “third phase” of policy changes occurring outside of the primary-legislation effort, which was passed last month.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats oppose the legislation and say it “unfairly targets undocumented immigrants.” Apparently, they don’t understand this bill is literally about ensuring illegal aliens don’t commit fraud and essentially steal from American taxpayers.
This bill is the latest in a string of bills aimed at improving the healthcare system, and sources say other healthcare-reform measures will be coming down the pike as well.