When federal lawmakers wrote the act overhauling the nation’s health-care system six years ago, they ruled out any possibility of extending health insurance to illegal immigrants.
Local officials where many of those immigrants live are treating them anyway.
A Wall Street Journal survey of the 25 U.S. counties with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations found that 20 of them have programs that pay for the low-income uninsured to have doctor visits, shots, prescription drugs, lab tests and surgeries at local providers. The services usually are inexpensive or free to participants, who must prove they live in the county but are told their immigration status doesn’t matter.
Whether such programs are appropriate is a matter of debate. Many voters believe it is unfair to use tax dollars to help immigrants when American citizens struggle, and that doing so encourages illegal immigration. At the same time, American hospitals have long been required by law to screen and stabilize any patient, regardless of his or her ability to pay, which means taxpayers already are committed to paying for care in its most expensive setting.
County politicians figure it is cheaper, safer and easier to give basic health services to immigrants who can’t get insurance than to treat them only in the county’s emergency rooms.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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