PolitiFact Rules Trump Ad 'Mostly False' on 'Free' Health Care for Illegal Immigrants

August 5th, 2019 8:55 PM

It's become sadly routine for us to publish articles on this CNN host or that MSNBC pundit comparing President Trump to Hitler, but somehow the "fact checkers" at PolitiFact have failed to pull out their "Truth-O-Meter" and say: " FALSE: Trump has yet to execute six million Jews."

Here's the short Hitler page at PolitiFact...Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Spicer drew the "Pants on Fire" treatment, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is spared the Truth-O-Meter on her concentration-camp language.

On August 1, PolitiFact took meticulous exception to a new Trump ad that shows NBC debate moderator Savannah Guthrie asking ten Democrat presidential candidates "Raise your hand if your government plan would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants." The announcer said "These Democrats support giving illegal immigrants free health care at our expense." PolitiFact proclaimed this was "MOSTLY FALSE," because they didn't say "free health care" by raising their hand! 



So on one hand, liberals say illegal immigrants should be welcomed because they come from severe poverty, but then we're supposed to believe they'll be buying their own health insurance? No, apparently just by paying any taxes, it's not a "handout." 

PolitiFact's Miriam Valverde noted that two Democrats referred to illegal aliens paying taxes. Biden said "They’re paying the Social Security tax....hey would do the same thing in terms of reducing the overall cost of health care by them being able to be treated and not wait until they’re in extremis."

Buttigieg said "They pay sales taxes, they pay property taxes directly or indirectly. This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program."

Valverde concluded: 

Some candidates on stage that night support universal health care coverage, through Medicare for All. But there isn’t agreement among all candidates on the provisions of that type of coverage. A version of Medicare for All would offer coverage to all individuals by replacing premiums, co-pays and deductibles. One way the government would pay for Medicare for All would be through payroll taxes; so immigrants in the country illegally who do pay income taxes would contribute that way.

We rate the ad’s statement Mostly False.

So put the word "free" aside for a moment. Taxpayers don't like paying for people who sneak across the borders and then cost the taxpayers in added health and welfare and education and criminal-justice spending. At Forbes, Chris Conover reported in 2018 that despite formal prohibitions on federal funding of health care for illegal immigrants, the reality is Americans are already paying for their health care: 

Current federal policy is to prohibit federal tax funding of health care to unauthorized immigrants through either Medicaid or Obamacare. Nevertheless, rough estimates suggest that the nation's 3.9 million uninsured immigrants who are unauthorized likely receive about $4.6 billion in health services paid for by federal taxes, $2.8 billion in health services financed by state and local taxpayers, another $3.0 bankrolled through "cost-shifting" i.e., higher payments by insured patients to cover hospital uncompensated care losses, and roughly $1.5 billion in physician charity care.

In addition to these amounts, unauthorized immigrants likely benefit from at least $0.9 billion in implicit federal subsidies due to the tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals and another $5.7 billion in tax expenditures from the employer tax exclusion.

All told, Americans cross-subsidize health care for unauthorized immigrants to the tune of $18.5 billion a year.

For demonstrating a hypersensitive reflex on advertisements that make Democrats look like they're offering health-care handouts to illegal immigrants, PolitiFact earns the rating "Deeply Distorted." For more, see our Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers page.