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July 2005 Newsletter: Hot Bill: The Pay UP Act

Location: Washington DC

July 2005


Hot Bill: The Pay UP Act

Along with Representatives Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and Jim Kolbe (R-Tuson) from Arizona, I recently offered the PAY UP Act, which reimburses hospitals and doctors for the cost of treating undocumented patients.

The Federal Government's continued failure to assume the responsibility for fixing our broken health care system has left the whole border region at a loss of funds. Providers in these areas and other parts of the country with large immigrant populations can no longer tolerate the unaccounted for expenses.
The growing burden on hospitals, physicians and ambulance providers threatens to cripple the health care services 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 programs, we must act now to shore up these hospitals and secure the health of communities throughout the country.

I am therefore pleased to announce the introduction of my Pay for All Your Undocumented Procedures (PAY UP) Act (H.R. 2934), which requires 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.


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