Looks like Joe "You Lie!" Wilson scored a direct hit: The White House denied the charge, saying illegal immigrants wouldn't be covered under his health plan, but moved yesterday to beef up measures to exclude them. The Senate Finance Committee looked ready to follow its lead. Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs sketched a new position that goes even further than conservative critics had demanded: Obama will oppose letting illegal immigrants buy insurance through new purchasing exchanges the government will set up.
"Illegal immigrants would not be allowed to access the exchange that is set up," Gibbs said. Verification requirements are "something we'd work out with Congress," he said.
Democratic bills had already prohibited illegal immigrants from getting federal subsidies to help them buy insurance, but Wilson and other Republicans noted the absence of any enforcement mechanism or requirement for verification of legal status.