MARCH 15, 2007
One border state alone spent $700 million last year to medically treat illegal immigrants and a high-ranking hospital official says the toll is causing a meltdown of the state’s healthcare system.
U.S. taxpayers have for years financed the exorbitant cost of medically treating illegal immigrants, but in the last few years it has transformed into a crisis that has forced many hospitals in borders states to actually close.
This week, outraged California lawmakers provided details illustrating the situation’s severity as they fought a congressional proposal that would drastically cut federal reimbursement for the healthcare of illegal immigrants in their state.
The mostly Democratic group said almost half of California hospitals are operating in the red and provided specific documentation of how the state’s 430 facilities spent $700 million to treat illegal immigrants in 2006. The burden is deeply affecting Americans who may need emergency or urgent medical care and must travel further to find it.
Even though federal law mandates that hospitals must provide emergency medical treatment to illegal immigrants, the government only partially reimburses them. California only got $73 million to cover that astronomical $700 million bill last year and now the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for the federal budget, wants to further cut the reimbursement rate.
Officials with the state’s powerful Hospital Association said that California hospitals shouldn’t have to bear the burden of uncompensated care provided to individuals who come into this country as a result of the federal government’s failure to properly police the borders.
Many other states are in the same predicament and bipartisan lawmakers are aggressively fighting the new budget proposals that would further diminish the government’s reimbursement for providing free medical care to those who have broken our laws.
An article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons points out that illegal aliens’ stealthy assaults on medicine must rouse Americans to alert and alarm. Their free medical care, the article says, has degraded and closed some of America’s finest emergency medical facilities and cause hospital bankruptcies.
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