- The Washington Times - Friday, September 11, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” is working to strengthen the citizenship requirements for obtaining health care coverage — a hot topic highlighted by Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst during President Obama’s congressional address.

The group also is looking at a new medical malpractice provision, pursuing Mr. Obama’s call for such a money-saving measure that is coveted by Republican lawmakers.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, also told reporters Friday that he told members of the bipartisan negotiating team to have a response to his proposal prepared for Monday. He earlier said he will release a formal outline of his health care overhaul bill early next week, with or without Republican support.

The group is reviewing its provisions that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining government health care subsidies or from getting on a government plan, said Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat and member of the Gang of Six. The group’s plan would require individuals to use their social security numbers to obtain a low- or middle-income tax subsidy or sign on to a co-operative insurance plan, but it’s working on how to extend coverage to legal residents without a Social Security number.

The chairman’s framework, distributed last week, said people in the country illegally wouldn’t get assistance, but the issue got new attention Wednesday when Mr. Wilson, South Carolina Republican, shouted “You lie!” when Mr. Obama said illegal immigrants wouldn’t get assistance.

The nonpartisan FactCheck.org said that it is possible that 5.6 million of the estimated 9.7 million uninsured immigrants are in the country illegally, though they said there is no “hard data” to verify it.

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