APRIL 27, 2009
The nation’s most populous county has vowed to continue offering illegal immigrants free medical care even as other municipalities throughout its state are forced by a financial crisis to eliminate the costly perk.
With the nation’s highest illegal immigrant population (around 3 million), California annually spends about $775 million to provide them with free medical care at its county facilities. But an unprecedented budget crisis has led officials in several counties to cut the service amid protests that the move is unconstitutional.
Earlier this year Sacramento County cut publicly financed health care to about 4,000 illegal immigrants to save $2.4 million and Contra Costa County, one of nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by eliminating the service to 5,500 illegal aliens to save approximately $6 million. Yolo County, also in northern California, is scheduled to vote on a similar measure next month to save a much-needed $1.2 million by banning around 1,200 illegal immigrants who currently benefit from free medical care.
But in the south, the state’s largest county—Los Angeles—assures that there is no plan to ban taxpayer-financed health services to its illegal residents. In a newspaper report published this week, the director of L.A. County’s health services department says that, despite significant projected deficits and concerns about further cuts in state funding, the county will continue to provide illegal aliens with free medical care.
A few years ago the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services revealed in a highly publicized report that the county spends about $400 million a year on health care for illegal immigrants. Other exorbitant expenses include welfare and food stamps ($440 million) and incarceration ($224 million).
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