This is good news:
Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that current law and the healthcare bill under consideration are too lax and leave the door open to illegal immigrants defrauding the government using false or stolen identities to obtain benefits.
Grassley’s amendment was beaten back 10-13 on a party-line vote.
The bill, authored by committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), would require applicants to verify their names, places of birth and Social Security numbers. In addition, legal immigrants would have to wait five years, as under current law, after obtaining citizenship or legal residency to access federal healthcare benefits such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program or receive tax credits or purchase insurance through the exchange created by the legislation.
But the [bill] would not require them to show a photo ID, such as a [driver’s] license. Without that requirement, the bill “remains dearly lacking when it comes to identification,” Grassley said. “Frankly, I’m very perplexed as to why anyone would oppose this amendment,” he said.
But Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who represents the border state of New Mexico, said that the type of fraud Grassley said he wants to prevent is highly uncommon. “The way I see the amendment, it’s a solution without a problem,” Bingaman said.
Someone should tell Grassley that photo IDs can be forged, too. If a non-citizen was so determined to commit fraud that s/he would falsify a birth certificate or a social security card, then why would they hesitate to forge a photo ID to go with the rest of their false identity.
Of course, the answer is that Chuck Grassley is not really interested in preventing fraud. His real interest lies in putting one roadblock after another in the way of healthcare reform. This time, he failed.