I doubt that Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., would have disgraced himself by shouting at Ronald Reagan as he did during Barack Obama's address Wednesday night. And yet, his beef might be more with the former than the latter.
I know something about the issue at the heart of Wilson's outburst. Last month, I had the opportunity to question the president at the White House. In the midst of that live radio interview, a caller from Indiana asked Obama whether his favored health-care proposal would cover illegal immigrants. The president called that notion "an example of just pure misinformation out there."
"None of the bills that have been voted on in Congress and none of the proposals coming out of the White House propose giving coverage to illegal immigrants. None of them," he said. "That has never been on the table. Nobody has discussed it."
What, then, would their fate be? I asked. Especially considering the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act -- enacted in 1986 and signed by Reagan -- which mandates that all patients who visit an emergency room must be seen and treated.