Battin Calls on Feds to Reimburse for Health Care to Illegal Immigrants

Senator Jim Battin (R-La Quinta) has introduced SJRX 1 in the extraordinary legislative session called by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to address health care. Battin’s SJRX 1 demands that President Bush and Congress provide full reimbursement for the costs of federally mandated health care for illegal immigrants.

According to the State Department of Health Care Services, California spends $700 million a year on health care for illegal immigrants, including emergency room costs and prison health care. Federal law mandates California taxpayers pay this bill, even though the public has historically opposed paying for the health care of foreign citizens.

“It is impossible to have a quality discussion on health care reform until the issue of illegal immigration is addresses. Border enforcement is the sole responsibility of the federal government,” Battin said. “Congress and the Administration have a responsibility to stop the flow of illegal immigrants — if they will not, they must lift this mandate or reimburse state taxpayers for its costs.”

The Senate Republican Caucus recently announced a special session legislative package with realistic, market based health care reforms. Under the Senate Republicans’ proposals, demand for overburdened and expensive emergency room services will be reduced by expanding the use of clinical care facilities with an emphasis on preventive, primary care medicine. A federal reimbursement, as called for with the resolution, would accurately reflect the impact illegal immigration has on our emergency rooms and health care system in general, and put an end to California families subsidizing non-citizen health care.

“This resolution is a key part in lowering health care costs for our State. I urge my colleagues, particularly legislative Democrats, to call upon the federal government to pay for the mandated cost of health care for illegal immigrants,” said Battin.

SJR 1 is currently awaiting assignment to a committee.