An amendment in the US Senate version of the current Medicare bill seeks to extend federal funding of federal Medicaid and State Child Health Insurance Program spending to encompass legal immigrants.
Now the issue is before the Senate again, sooner than expected. The same provision was included in the Medicare bill. Its cost to the federal government over 10 years is estimated at about $2.2 billion, and it eventually would aid about 170,000 children and 110,000 pregnant women each year.
The Bush Administration is opposing this amendment because it claims this should not be included in a bill on Medicare. It is not clear that the Bush Administration will oppose the amendment if it is placed in a welfare bill instead. Currently many states already provide funding to legal alien residents using state tax money.
About 20 states and the District use their own money to cover costs for pregnant women and children who are legal aliens.
The much higher rate of lack of medical insurance among Hispanics combined with their growing portion of the population has been forcing a rapid growth in the Medicaid budgets of many states even as Medicaid benefits have been cut for both citizens and aliens alike. In some states it is likely that a sizeable portion of those immigrants who are being treated using state funding are not even legal immigrants. Local agencies and clinics either do not check whether the aliens are legally here or the aliens present false documentation to prove that they are legal immigrants.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 June 25 06:45 PM Immigration Border Control|