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REPRESENTATIVE'S OUTBURST OFF BASE

The statement

"You lie!" (in response to President Obama saying health reform would not insure illegal immigrants)

Rep. Joe Wilson during the president's speech on Wednesday

* * *

The ruling: FALSE

So who's right here? Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina or President Obama? We've been monitoring claims about health care reform and illegal immigrants for some time now. Most notably, a chain e-mail claimed that page 50 of the House bill gave free health care to illegal immigrants. That page didn't say that. Rather, it included a generic nondiscrimination clause. So we rated the claim Pants on Fire. We read all 1,000-plus pages of the health care bill and were struck that it is largely silent on health care for illegal immigrants. Most states now have laws on the books that require hospitals to treat severely ill people, regardless of immigration status, and we didn't see anything that would change those laws. Most illegal immigrants are also now excluded from Medicaid, the government-run health care for the poor. We didn't see anything that would change that. Looking at all of this evidence, it seems that health reform leaves in place the status quo on illegal immigration, and certainly does not provide any new benefits for illegal immigrants. Wilson's statement is False.

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