September 17th, 2009
09:10 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama: There's been a little controversy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Barack Obama is attempting to set the record straight over health care reform and illegal immigrants."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama is attempting to set the record straight over health care reform and illegal immigrants.

"As you know, there's been a little controversy about who exactly will be covered under reform. I want to be clear: If someone is here illegally, they won't be covered under this plan. That's a commitment I've made," the president said Wednesday night as he addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 32nd annual award gala.

Last week, as he told a joint-session of Congress in prime-time that "the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," Obama was interrupted by Rep. Joe Wilson. The South Carolina Republican yelled out "you lie," to which the president replied "it's not true."

The president Wednesday night continued his push for health care form, saying "Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don't simply believe we can simply ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken. That's why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else. "And we certainly should not let this debate on health care - one so essential to Hispanic Americans and all Americans - get sidetracked by those looking to exploit divisions and kill reform at any cost."

Obama also made a pitch for immigration reform, one if his goals for next year.
"If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all. That's what I've said from the start. That's what I say tonight," he said.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. rea

    Thank YOU President Obama all legal americans need health care reform.

    September 17, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Enough

    His solution would be amnesty to all..........then they would be legal and could get on the freebie band wagon at tax payer expense............NICE!

    September 17, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. mark in atlanta

    Once again, Obama's position is balanced and sensible. Good take on a complicated set of interrelated issues. Great President.

    September 17, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Dar

    So now BO is saying, "I don't belive we can extend coverage to those who are hear illegally". Sure changed his tune from" illegal's will not be allowed to" Maybe Joe Wilson was right and now BO has to change up his Bull crap to keep blowing smoke up our skirts.
    I wish he would just sit down and help write this bill, at least he would know whats in it. Get to work, the election is over, you can stop now.

    September 17, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Randolph Carter, head of the death panel

    Here's my immigration reform plan: Any company that is found employing illegals will have all of their assets seized by the federal government. These assets will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and the whistle blower gets 10% of the proceeds. It won't cost taxpayers a cent. In fact the government would make money and companies would police themselves. I've got nothing against illegal aliens, they're just trying to put food on the table, but if the jobs disappear, they will too. Have a nice day!

    September 17, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Really

    The numbers do not add up. How many are uninsured in this country if you remove the illegals. Also, what safe guards are there in place to prevent it from happening. Maybe Obama should read the bill and recent court rulings that would allow illegals to obtain coverage. Maybe he has just had the wool pulled over his eyes like he is trying to do to us.

    September 17, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    Comment about Jimmy Carter whom I deeply love,

    It'a not as much racism as it its prejudice really.
    It is hard for people like Wilson who have been taught superiority of white people over black people to overcome their life long prejudices.

    No wonder Mohammad Ali was so impressed by Africa where they had, OMG old white folks don't be stunned, black doctors, pilots, lawyers etc...

    At least as Democrats we accept our faults and try to improve and move forward, whereas the Republicans always seem to think of the good old days, which really weren't that good. At least not for minorities.

    Heck just look at how long it took some white folk (BTW I am white myself though not religious obviously) to accept that Jesus was not a blond haired blue eyed white guy. By our own definition of us white folks he was "colored". OMG. Heck, Mormons still believed that crap (and some still do) by not allowing black people to join their church until a couple of decades ago.

    September 17, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Terry, TX bankrupting Obama issues.....his Obamacare....his cap and trade or should we should we say tax....and amnesty for illegal aliens...because it's coming. Does this man not have anything to keep his rear in the White House and work...instead of reading other people's speeches.
    Quit spending ...anybody there.

    September 17, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Liar, liar, the admins on fire

    I'll write this real slow for you Barry, IF there is not a provision in the FINAL bill how will they be turned away?

    As Republicans have requested EXACT language to be part of ANY final bill, but the Democrats are not willing to put that SPECIFIC part in.

    Or is this just another LIE, like you can't GUARANTEE that I keep my doctor or insurance, but as long as you keep repeating the LIE, it will somehow come true?

    Tap your heels together Barry, you can wish you were in Kansas or one of the other wonderful 57 states.

    September 17, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. kimberly

    He just needs to pass it! Stop trying to please the party of NO, they do not care about this country, their stupid tea bagger parties and whining may be louder now, but there are NO MORE PEOPLE in there. The people whining did not vote for Obama and never will. He doesnt need them, and should not care what they think. I am sick of this trying to take the high road attitudde with him, he needs to understand, those people are not interested in helping him or Americans, only spreading hate fear and LIES! They are disturbed sad morons...

    September 17, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. makesUwonder

    "a little controversy" he kidding, "a little controversy".

    Not only does this President not pay attention to what the American people think of his healthcare, he doesn't care what the American people think.

    September 17, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    Yes, Mr. President, there's been a "little" controversy, indeed! That's nothing new. The Republicans have opposed every social program that has been promoted by the Democrats:

    Social Security during FDR – the GOP said it would lead to socialism!
    Medicare – you guessed it..... communism!
    Medicaid – ditto
    SCHIP – Bush, a so-called-prolife-president vetoed this Bill that would have insured 7 million children
    Unemployment benefits
    Minimum Wage
    Civil Rights
    The Voting Rights Act

    Get the picture?

    September 17, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. r. cox

    Did he lie???????????

    September 17, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Arvid Billingsley

    He lies! The laws require EVERYONE to be received in emergency rooms without respect to identification.

    September 17, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Nestor, Austin, TX

    This will probably be moderated, but here goes:

    The only way illegal aliens won't be covered is if Obama gives them amnesty and a fast track to citizenship. Which he will attempt to do.

    September 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. GIBBS

    i only have one thing to say..............YOU LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Bob in Pa

    Sounds like double speak to me. I am sure his version of Imigration reform will say if you made it accross the border without getting caught, then you are here leagally and covered.

    September 17, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. KG, MN

    Here come the ignorant comments about all people with Spanish surnames being here illegally from Mexico. That's right, round them all up together and ship them out! Cameron Diaz, Daisy Fuentes, Jennifer Lopez, Mario Lopez, Jessica Alba, clearly all here illegally. Governor Bill Richardson can stay because he has a nice last name. Tony Gonzalez can stay, too, because he's with the Atlanta Falcons.

    September 17, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Loup Garou 782

    I would like to take this opportunity to second Joe Wilson's comment....YOU LIE...and I will not apologize.

    September 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. stevegee

    It's true, healthcare coverage for illegal immigrants is just a little part of the controversy. The bigger opposition is that most Americans don't want government healthcare.

    Every major government-run program is inept and insolvent — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — so why should we believe Washington can do any better this time?

    Government didn't make this country great, the people did. So get out of the way and let the free market work. Our economy would be a lot healthier, and so would the people.

    September 17, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. PA Voter

    Say it again, Mr. President! The illegal immigrant issue IS NOT a debate for health care; it's one for immigration reform. We can not let opponents sidetrack healthcare reform because they scare us/anger us into worrying about illegal immigrants getting some emergency attention! By that same theory, let's just stop providing public education - illegal immigrants have children, also illegally here, attending schools too.

    September 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. Kansan

    If Obama cured cancer, eliminated poverty and walked on water, the Republicans would still be 200 percent against him every inch of the way...they simply want to sabotage this administration at all costs no matter how badly is will damage this country...all they care about is getting their precious power back and getting the African American President out.

    September 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Lisa P

    It's too bad that the people who go apoplectic at the thought that a single cent of their "hard earned" money might go to the health care of the hardest working, lowest paid and least protected group in America have never considered what might happen when one of those food handlers, laundry workers or day-care providers comes down with the flu or any other highly communicable (and very preventable) disease. Health care for all is a matter of public safety as much as individual benefit.

    I support immigration reform - clearly the current system is busted - but worry that we are just courting disaster if we deny health care to illegal immigrants while we wait for a more just and practical immigration system to be put in place.

    September 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. CensoredLikeIranByCNN

    I don't get it. Conservatives complain that illegal immigrants are not paying for their healthcare services but when there is a chance that they can pay for it, conservatives don't want them to pay. That doesn't make sense. Illegals should be able to join the exchange that way they can help our society pay for healthcare. So what is it going to be rethuglicans, have illegals pay or not pay? If you say not pay, then you shouldn't complain that we are paying for their services because you don't want them to pay for their own health services!!!

    September 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. phyllis

    Why don't people listen, when someone is talking about something, that is serious, President Obama, has tried to tell these people who will not listen time again about health care reform and, illegal immigrants. What does it take for them to understand plan english???

    It is a sad state of being, when people want listen, are they so dumb that they can't listen and understand, no wonder they are so easily led by the republicans, blind leading the blind. Thank you

    September 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
1 2 3