ABC News’ Huma Khan reports: House Republican Leader John Boehner added to the chorus of Republicans saying Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech last night was inappropriate, but the Ohio lawmaker wouldn’t say if it was an embarrassment to his party.
“I think that Mr. Wilson summed it up best when he said his behavior was inappropriate,” Boehner said in a press conference today.
He added that he had a “private conversation” with the South Carolina Congressman, but wouldn’t divulge what they discussed.
Wilson shouted out “You Lie!” after the president said his health care plan would not provide coverage to illegal immigrants.
“Now, there are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false,” Obama said in an attempt to debunk the myths about his health care proposals.
But Boehner today said that assertion isn’t true, citing an analysis by the Congressional Research Service that says under a government exchange program, illegal immigrants would be able to purchase insurance.
“H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens participating in and paying for coverage available through the exchange, whether the noncitizens are legally or illegally present or in the United States temporarily or permanently,” Boehner said.
The bill states that, "Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services,” but it also explicitly says that illegal immigrants can’t get any government money to pay for health care.
Boehner also countered the president’s claim that any health care bill he signs will not add to the deficit, saying that the Democratic House bill has “10 years worth of taxes covering only about eight years worth of new expenses.”
The Republican leader also assailed Obama for cutting Medicare benefits and not discarding the idea of a public option altogether.
“We appreciated having the president here last night. Unfortunately, what the American people got wasn't a new health care plan. It was just another lecture. He had a chance to really put the government-run plan to bed, but unfortunately he didn't do it,” Boehner said.
“Almost all of what he had to say was aimed at Democrats, whether he was referring to the progressives to hang in there. But a lot of -- a lot of what he said, I think, was aimed at the more moderate Democrat members, trying to bring them on board.”