Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ahead of their first debate, President Donald Trump took aim at Democratic rival Joe Biden on health care, accusing the former vice president of wanting to foment uncontrolled immigration by offering free health care to people who don’t have legal authorization to be in the country. But Trump’s volley missed its mark because Biden has proposed no such thing.
Trump repeated the claim in recent days at events in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where he was trying to blunt criticism of his own record on health care, including his administration’s latest attempt to bring down the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.
A look at his statements:
TRUMP: “Now Biden is pledging to give federal health care to illegal aliens, which is decimating Medicare. Just so you understand, we all have heart; we want to help people. But the problem is, when you say that, people that never even thought of coming to the United States say, ‘Let’s go. We get free education, free medication, free health care.” — rally Saturday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
TRUMP: “On top of it all, former Vice President Joe Biden promised to give free federal health care to anyone in the world who illegally crosses our border. His plan to provide government health care to illegal immigrants would bankrupt our health care system, collapse our hospitals, and destroy Medicare, while bringing millions and millions of people — lured — into our country.” — remarks Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
THE FACTS: Biden has not promised to give free federal health care to people lacking legal authorization to be in the United States.
Biden’s health care plan would provide insurance subsidies to U.S. citizens, legal residents, and the so-called Dreamers, young adults brought to this country as children by their parents, who can now apply for work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which Trump wants to shut down.
But people without legal permission to be here would not be getting “free federal health care” as Trump asserts.
Biden would allow immigrants who are here illegally to buy health insurance policies on the “Obamacare” markets using their own money, which is a change in federal policy and would remove a prohibition in place currently. It would probably require congressional approval.
That’s a far cry from giving it away.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.
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