Back in June and July 2020, months before the presidential elections, former Vice President Joe Biden's various policy platforms were misinterpreted by critics and were picked apart.
One of those who misinterpreted the platforms of the Democratic candidate is President Donald Trump. A particular statement that Biden made about health care for undocumented immigrants was twisted and was reported without context as his policy.
Biden's take on immigrants
Social media users are now asking if the Democratic candidate said that U.S taxpayers had the obligation to shoulder the healthcare of 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
According to the site Snopes, Biden was misquoted and his words were twisted by the right-wing party. The quote was from a clip shared by BlazeTV, a right-wing media organization. The clip was shared back in May 2019 with the title "Joe Biden Says the U.S Obligated to Give Free Healthcare to Undocumented Immigrants."
In the video, a reporter asked the former Vice President if he thinks that undocumented immigrants that are law-abiding should be given federal benefits such as Medicaid and Medicare.
Biden said that anyone who is in a situation where they are in need of healthcare, regardless of whether they are documented or not, the government has the obligation to see that they are cared for and that is the reason why there should be more clinics in America, as reported by CNN.
During the June 2019 Democratic presidential debates, Biden said the same thing. In an interview with Telemundo back in December 2019, he also talked about his plan of having undocumented immigrants buy into the system like everyone else under the Affordable Care Act of ACA.
Trump using Biden's statement
On July 14, 2020, President Trump misrepresented Biden's policy after it was presented by the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces. Trump then said in his speech at the White House that Biden wants health care for all illegal aliens.
However, the task force actually recommended extending the Affordable Care Act coverage to DACA recipients. The extension will allow undocumented immigrants to purchase the unsubsidized coverage in the ACA marketplaces. The plan can help ensure that everyone in the United States has access to health care.
Under the proposal, it is not true that taxpayers will be the ones to pay for the health care of undocumented immigrants.
The undocumented immigrants could have the choice to pay for their health coverage through the ACA exchange marketplace but they won't have access to the government subsidies that U.S citizens use. Brookings estimated back in 2019 that there are 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Currently, undocumented immigrants can't enroll in Medicaid, purchase insurance through the ACA marketplace, or access the Children's Health Insurance Program or CHIP.
There are some state-funded or locally-funded health programs that provide coverage to undocumented immigrants. Safety-net clinics and emergency health services are available to undocumented immigrants, which Biden is an advocate of.
In conclusion, even though Biden did say that the United States had an obligation to make sure that immigrants get health care, his views were twisted and misrepresented and do not reflect his current policy.
Biden would extend health care access to undocumented immigrants through the marketplace, it was different from the taxpayer-funded, government-subsidized plan that Trump made it out to be.