Texas, in 1-yr. $678M for illegals' health care

Posted on Sat, Dec. 13, 2008
Texas taxpayers spent $678 million on healthcare for illegal immigrants
By ANDREW CHAVEZ
Special to the Star-Telegram

"Healthcare for illegal immigrants cost the Texas government and local hospital districts $678 million in a year, according to a new study that state lawmakers hope will show the federal government how much Texas is spending in uncompensated care for illegal immigrants.

The study, by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, estimates that $597 million of the total was spent by 94 public hospitals during fiscal 2005-06.

The remainder, about $81 million, went to the state’s contribution to emergency Medicaid, which pays for emergency medical care for things such as childbirth, and to the Texas Family Violence Program, which funds shelters, 24-hour hot lines, counseling and other related services. That figure is from fiscal 2006-07."

"Legislative reaction

The report, generated by the House’s 2007 appropriations bill, was criticized by a Fort Worth legislator as "immigrant bashing."

Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said looking just at the cost of illegal immigrants doesn’t take into account the money they pump into the state.

"If you tell somebody to design a study and discover half the facts, you’ll get half the facts," Burnam said. "All you’ve done is look at one side of the ledger. People cost money no matter what their legal status is."

Burnam pointed to a 2006 report from the state comptroller’s office indicating that illegal immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues and received $1.16 billion in state services."

[The only money that illegals can "pump into the state" comes from illegal employment that should be going to legal citizens who would have to be paid legal minimum wage -at the least- by those same employers.]

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