NOVEMBER 09, 2009
A Democrat congressman from Ohio has introduced innovative legislation that would require foreign countries to reimburse American taxpayers for the exorbitant medical expenses of illegal immigrants.
Appropriately titled, PAYBACK Act (Preventing All Your Bucks from Aiding non-Citizens is Key), the measure would save the U.S. government billions of dollars annually and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund health care services for illegal immigrants, according to its author, U.S. Representative Zack Space.
Medical bills for illegal aliens would be passed along to their country of origin, according to the proposed law, which was introduced in the House this month. The government would mostly collect by deducting the cost of illegal immigrants’ healthcare from the foreign aid their home countries would normally get from the U.S.
If the U.S. does not offer foreign assistance the country would get billed for 110% of the medical costs. In the case where illegal immigrants are from nation’s to whom the U.S. owes money, the cost of medically treating their citizens would be reduced from the debt. The money would be applied to strengthening border security. “It is fundamentally unfair and outrageous to foot the bill for immigrants unlawfully in the United States,” said Space, who has represented Ohio’s 18th congressional district since 2007.
U.S. taxpayers spend tens of billions of dollars annually to provide free medical care for illegal immigrants with states that border Mexico taking the biggest hit. The expense has become so unbearable in California—long an illegal alien sanctuary—that several municipalities eliminated the perk this year to save tens of millions of dollars in the midst of the state’s dire financial crisis.
Adding to the problem is the fact that Mexico, the country that provides the largest amount of illegal immigrants in the U.S., has long promoted America’s generous public health centers. It even operates a Spanish-language program (Ventanillas de Salud, Health Windows) in about a dozen U.S. cities that refers its nationals—living in the country illegally—to clinics where they can get free medical care without being turned over to immigration authorities.
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