PAY UP: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, NOT HOSPITALS, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IMMIGRATION -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 17, 2005)
SPEECH OF HON. BOB FILNER OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2005
* Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, as California's Border Congressman, I am here to deliver some bad news and some good news about the health care providers in my district, the whole border region, and other parts of the country with large immigrant populations. The bad new is: they can't take it anymore!
* They can't take the Federal Government's continued failure to assume the responsibility for fixing our broken immigration system.
* They can't take the increasing cost of uncompensated emergency care for undocumented immigrants. The growing burden on hospitals, physicians and ambulance providers threatens to cripple the health care services that are available to all the residents of these communities.
* In San Diego, UCSD is planning to close down a hospital, partly because of the growing costs of treating undocumented immigrants. The solvency of other hospitals is increasingly endangered. Continued neglect threatens the very existence of many of these hospitals and the health of communities throughout the Nation.
* It's hard to blame the hospitals for their growing financial woes. Turning away uninsured, undocumented patients with medical emergencies would not only violate their moral and legal duties; it would endanger everyone's health by sending sick people back out into the community.
* Instead, it is the Federal Government who is to blame. The Federal Government is responsible for immigration and therefore must take responsibility for the costs imposed on hospitals by a broken immigration system
* As Congress continues to debate the best approach to reforming our immigration system, we must act now to shore up these hospitals and secure the health of communities throughout the country.
* So, along with the bad news, I am also here to deliver some good news: I have joined with Congressman KOLBE to introduce bi-partisan legislation, the Pay for All Your Undocumented Procedures (PAY UP!) Act (H.R. 2934), to require the Federal Government to reimburse health care providers for these costs.
* This legislation will bolster our hospitals and safeguard the health of both U.S. citizens and immigrants. I urge my colleagues to strongly support the PAY UP! Act.