Mitt Romney campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom appeared on MSNBC today to adress the LA Times story regarding RomneyCare’s granting free health care for illegal aliens. Here’s the clip, which is being circulated by the Perry campaign. In the second minute, Fehrstrom says that the rule allowing illegal aliens to access free health care (at taxpayer expense) under Romney’s health care program were written by Romney’s successor, Gov. Deval Patrick.
Fehrnstrom’s timeline appears to be incorrect. These rules went into effect on May 1, 2004. Take look at page 13, section 10.06(3a)
(a) A Hospital or Community Health Center shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship, alienage, religion, creed, sex, sexual preference, age, or disability, in its policies, or in its application of policies, concerning the acquisition and verification of financial information, pre-admission or pretreatment deposits, payment plans, deferred or rejected admissions, or eligibility for Free Care.
Emphasis added. Deval Patrick was not yet Massachusetts governor when that rule went into effect. Mitt Romney was.
Update: The timeline gets a bit confusing. The rules linked above were published in 2004. Romney signed his health care reform in 2006, and RomneyCare did include access for illegal aliens. Waybacking Massachusetts’ Free Care rules turns up this page, which details who is eligible for free care under the Romney plan:
- Your family must have low to moderate income, or extraordinary medical bills beyond your ability to pay.
- You must have little or no health insurance.
- You must be a resident of Massachusetts. Non-residents are not eligible.
- Your citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility.
- People who get MassHealth, EAEDC, CenterCare, Healthy Start, or the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) are eligible for Free Care for all medically necessary services not covered by these programs.
The fourth point spells out that what Fehrnstrom says in the clip above is simply wrong. He says illegal aliens’ accessing free care was not contemplated in the law. Clearly, it was. The rules spelled out on that waybacked web site were updated just three days after Romney signed the RomneyCare law into effect.