From a story on Leo Berman, a Texas legislator who is promoting a bill that would make it a crime in Texas for individuals to take actions that would further the implementation of the Federal Health Care Reform Act:
Berman said, "I don't think it's extreme at all. I think it's more extreme for Texans who have to pay $27 billion to put over 2 million illegal aliens on Medicaid. That's what's extreme," Berman said.
This is a pretty good example of everything that's wrong with the current state of journalism in this country. Here we see a politician making an outlandish claim that has no basis in law or fact, and the newspaper simply reproduces his comment with no attempt whatsoever to fact check. In fact, under the Health Care Reform Act, undocumented immigrants are prohibited from participating in the health care exchanges that provide subsidized coverage even if they spend their own money to do so. The bill in no way requires that these people be put on Medicaid. In fact, Medicaid only covers the U.S. born (and thus U.S. citizen) children of illegal immigrants, and reimburses hospitals for expenses related to providing emergency care to illegal immigrants. Hospitals are not going to turn away critically injured accident victims whose immigration status cannot be determined, and so Federal law recognizes this fact and reimburses them for such treatments. This is current law, the Health Care Reform Act does not change it, and expenses associated with such treatments come nowhere close to $27 billion annually (and certainly not for the state of Texas alone).
The GOP benefits greatly from party discipline. Messages are developed, tested in polling, and repeated ad-nauseum by politicians and conservative pundits alike. But a good part of the reason that the GOP message tends to resonate so widely, is that the mainstream media cannot be bothered to do even the most basic fact checking. This frees the GOP to say anything it wants, confident that mis-characterizations will go uncorrected, lies unchallenged and dstortions unanswered.