Illegals’ Medical Bills Top $35.7M

Jessica Van Sack, Boston Herald, October 27, 2010

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.

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“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.”

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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.

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