So you have illegal aliens in that basket! Mark Krikorian, whom I've found trustworthy on these matters, explains that illegal immigrants will too get health insurance under the current Democratic proposals. They're technically not eligible, maybe--but their eligibility probably won't be verified. And Dems have rejected amendments to require verification. (Illegal immigrants aren't technically eligible for jobs either, but they get them.)
I also think Krikorian is right that the Democrats, facing public pressure, will eventually accede to a serious verification requirement. But the cost to Obama's credibility, in the meantime, could be high and perhaps fatal. The President has gone on radio twice in recent days to assure voters that the bill wasn't " designed to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants" and that "[i]llegal immigrants would not be covered ." [E.A.] When it turns out that these are carefully-crafted phrases designed to offer false assurance about what would actually happen, what will people believe about Obama's other assurances? As with the "death panel" rebuttals that have failed to calm seniors' "not entirely irrational" fears of rationing, it's almost worse to offer sweeping denials that are only 90% accurate than not to offer them at all. The 10% proves the distrusting paranoids were right. And in this case it's more than 10%, given that illegals constitute a big chunk of the uninsured.
Liberals went through a similar, politically devastating, process with welfare. Year after year, decade after decade, they would assure Americans that welfare recipients were actually required to work. See, it says so right in the legislation! There's a "work requirement"! The voters never believed this, and took it out on Democrats at the polls. Eventually it became common knowledge, even among the well-informed, that the "work requirements" were riddled with loopholes. Only with Clinton's 1996 reform did the Democrats put a tourniquet on this wound. Now they're opening another one.
Why not just skip the Kabuki/BS phase where Congressional Dems try to sneak de facto health care for illegals through while showily saying the opposite, and just immediately agree to verification--avoiding the bleeding interval in which the ruse is sniffed out by the Right? Isn't that what a White House that was in charge of the process would insist on? Or did Obama's aides underestimate public anger on the health-care-for-illegals issue? (They don't any more, not after the August town halls.) Or--Alternative #3-- does the White House know what a hot button this is but feel it has to try to placate the Latino caucusers (since the immigrant legalization they want ain't happening anytime soon)? Or--#4--did they actually think they could get away with it? ... 11:24 P.M.