Hoyer Won't Answer Directly Whether Immigration Reform Would Make Current Illegal Aliens Eligible for Federally Subsidized Health Insurance Under Obamacare

By Matt Cover | September 15, 2009 | 8:34 PM EDT

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) (CNSNews.com photo/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) intimated that if comprehensive immigration reform is passed, it could provide a method for immigrants currently living illegally in the U.S. to get federally subsidized health care.
Hoyer, speaking at his weekly press briefing Tuesday, was asked by CNSNews.com whether creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens--a key part of comprehensive reform--would mean that currently-illegal aliens would become eligible for federal health care subsidies under the health-care reform plan.
Hoyer did not answer directly, saying instead that it was equally true that illegal aliens could return home and re-emigrate legally to become eligible for insurance subsidies:
CNSNews.com: You’ve indicated your support for a pathway to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform. If that comprehensive reform is passed--with that pathway--isn’t it true that people who are now here illegally would be eligible for federal subsidies, when health care gets passed?
Rep. Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader: It’s also true that if they went back home and were authorized to come in and were here legally (they would be eligible.) There’s all sorts of ‘ifs’ that you could hypothesize.
Hoyer pointed out that under the House’s version of health-care reform, illegal aliens are barred from receiving health subsidies.
“The bottom line is, though, that the bill makes it perfectly clear that under the bill those who are not here (legally) and those who are not authorized to be here cannot benefit from this particular legislation.”

Under the comprehensive immigration reform plan promoted by President Obama, illegal aliens would be put on a pathway to citizenship, becoming legal permanent residents of the United States. The health care reform plan approved by three House committees makes legal permanent residents eligible for federal subsidies to buy health insurance even though illegal aliens are not.