[B]efore [those eligible] can receive health care benefits Congress (begrudgingly) voted to give them last year, their personal data must go to the FBI to be sure they aren’t terrorists...I agree that this is clearly petty and ludicrous, but to be honest I think this is just a particularly egregious and unfeeling example of standard Conservative mentality: making sure that people who deserve help get it comes a (very, very) distant second to making sure those that don’t deserve help don’t get it.
You’ll remember that House Republicans didn’t want to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law at all, and only did so after Jon Stewart made fun of them about it. But apparently they were so resentful about having to appropriate health care money to the one-time heroes of 9/11 that they had to toss in this petty insult.
I've said this before, but once you use that as the central principle of organised Conservative thought, you very rarely go wrong. And in this case, once the Republicans found themselves forced to do their very least favourite thing – giving money away to those sorts of people that can’t afford an appropriate thank you cocktail party on a luxury yacht – they had to console themselves by throwing in an arbitrary sifting process to ensure “the wrong types” don’t get hold of the goodies.
I’m not sure why they picked “terrorist” as the search option here, though at a guess it’s because everyone who stands to benefit is already proven ill and a US citizen, so the usual tricks won’t work. “Terrorist” sounds scary, though, so they probably figure they can get away with it. It’s not like their similar trick with the no-fly lists did them much damage.
And like the no-fly lists, the true scandal here isn’t the sifting itself, it’s that one needs only to be unlucky enough to share a name with a known (suspected?) terrorist to be shit out of luck. Which, as I’ve said, is just the way these people do business. Remember all the hyperventilating about how “Obamacare” might make it easier for illegal immigrants to get healthcare? I mean, who cares about the millions of US citizens at risk, we can’t risk helping our own people if it means some foreigners get in on the action!
It’s all just another manifestation of the Republican worldview: “Better a hundred innocent men starve than one guilty man gets the crumbs from the table”.