South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson received national attention after infamously yelling “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on health care reform in September 2009.
Wilson yelled out his now infamous remark immediately after Obama told Congress, “The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” Wilson later apologized and was formally rebuked by the House of Representatives.
Now, he is using an announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services last week to claim he was right.
The agency is giving nearly $29 million in grants under the Affordable Care Act to community health centers across the country. Of that, $8.5 million is set aside to help migrant and seasonal farm workers. Wilson told Fox News the program would not require those workers to show they are in the country legally.
He says that likely means a percentage of those receiving care would be illegal aliens. “There will be no request for their verification of status,” he said Wednesday, “It is clearly providing money that should be going for American citizens for illegal aliens.”
The agency said those workers in the program would be expected to pay their own medical expenses, so it is not taxpayer-funded. “We are making an investment in the health of people and the health of our communities,” DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement, “These awards demonstrate a commitment to improving and expanding access to quality health care for local communities. We are removing barriers that stand in the way of affordable and accessible primary health services.”
However, Wilson said the centers are still using at least $8.5 million in taxpayer money, possibly more if a patient was unable to pay their expenses.
Wilson quoted a Pew Research study that found 25 percent of migrant workers are in the country illegally. “This is even worse than I thought,” he told Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, “I thought we would at least ask for the status of people. No, they won’t do that.”
He did say that he was sorry for breaking decorum by yelling at the President two years ago. Wilson’s office has sent out two fundraising emails to supporters highlighting last week’s announcement.