Hospitals Lobby for Illegal Alien Health Care
Published on June 10th, 2011
On June 8, the American Hospital Association wrote to President Barack Obama asking that in any comprehensive immigration reform legislation Congress may consider it includes subsidies for illegal aliens. Federal estimates place the illegal immigrant population at 8.7 million, a total I find conservative. Under the Obama administration’s health reform law, 93 percent of the U.S. population is expected to eventually gain insurance coverage. The remaining 7 percent includes illegal immigrants and others who won’t, or can’t, buy health insurance. What prompted the AHA letter is the discontinued Medicare Modernization Act that required the federal government to subsidize uncompensated care, much of it spent on illegal aliens, for up to $250 million annually for four years. It expired at the end of 2008 and the hospitals want the provision restored. According to the AHA, uncompensated care is as high as $40 billion annually and federal statutes, including Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, demand that hospitals treat all patients including illegal aliens that come to an emergency room. Whether illegal aliens should be covered under Obamacare had been a point of furious contention during the 2009 debate surrounding his bill. Obama insisted that his legislation would not provide for aliens although specific language that would have prevented it introduced by Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev. was defeated in the House Ways and Means Committee.