Senate moves to ensure illegal immigrants don't get federal benefits

As everyone knows at this point, President Obama was heckled with a shouted "You lie!" when he said that his current reform proposal doesn't extend health coverage to illegal immigrants.

While such public accusations may be unusual, concern over illegal immigrants receiving federal benefits is not, particularly among Republican legislators. Some say that reform provisions helping low-income workers get affordable insurance could effectively grant benefits to undocumented aliens.

Now, in an effort to address the still-emotional issue, members of the Senate Finance Committee are talking about adding identification and enforcement requirements designed to make sure that illegal immigrants don't get such benefits. This comes despite the fact that both the house and Senate versions of the bill already state that illegal immigrants are barred from getting federal subsidies for healthcare coverage. Republicans, for their part, say the ban won't work unless the bill includes enforcement requirements.

Democrats, for their part, say that demanding more proof of identity would deter low-income American citizens from buying health insurance.

To learn more about this controversy:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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