The Health Care Bill Exempts Illegal Aliens
Legal blogger Patterico was wondering if the health care bill, on its way down Pennsylvania Avenue, exempts illegal aliens.
Looks that way.
The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code and adds section 5000A(a), which mandates that every "applicable individual" obtain health insurance.
The new Section 5000A(d)(1) defines "applicable individual," and the definition is a negative definition. In this case, an "applicable individual" is defined as everyone who does not fall within one of three exemptions.
The first exemption -- at new Section 5000A(d)(2) -- is for religious objectors. I don't have an opinion about this.
The third exemption -- at new Section 5000A(d)(4) -- is for people who are incarcerated after conviction. I guess this makes sense since the government pays for convicts' health care as far as I know.
The second exception is the one Patterico is interested in. The new Section 5000A(d)(3) creates an exemption for:
INDIVIDUALS NOT LAWFULLY PRESENT. -- Such term [i.e., "applicable individual"] shall not include an individual for any month if for the month the individual is not a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States.
There is no mandate for people who are not U.S. citizens or nationals. OK, foreign tourists legally visiting the U.S. are not required to be covered.
Patterico's question is answered by the next phrase, which explains, in a purposefully obscure double negative, that the definition of "applicable individual" shall not include aliens who are not lawfully present in the United States.
That means illegal aliens are not "applicable individuals," are not required to obtain health insurance and will not be fined for failure to do so.
If you want to read the text, click here and read pages 321-328.
The Guardian has some background here.
UPDATE: Welcome Patterico readers! You are invited to hang around and enjoy the scenery.
Labels: Health Care Reform and Expats