Beleaguered Bay State and U.S. taxpayers coughed up a staggering $35.7 million this year in free emergency health care for more than 52,000 illegal aliens in Massachusetts, sparking outrage from candidates and critics who back a tougher line on immigration.
The figures–released by Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration under an order for the Secretary of State’s office and after more than a month of ducking questions–show illegal immigrants who belong to MassHealth Limited received $33.8 million in taxpayer-funded in-patient hospital care this year.
They also made 6,160 visits to the state’s overburdened emergency rooms in the fiscal year ending in June for an additional cost of $1.9 million, a Herald analysis shows.
“Incorporating illegal immigrants into any type of government-sponsored health care is legitimizing their presence here,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favors stricter immigration policies. “It’s a kind of piecemeal amnesty.”
Added state Rep. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), “It’s just another example in this state of working people paying the bills, and some people availing themselves of the benefits we have in the commonwealth.”
The figures show 69 percent of the state’s MassHealth Limited subscribers are illegal immigrants. The state is projected to pay $13.7 million of the cost of the health-care program this year, while federal Medicaid picks up the other $22 million.