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Governor Tells Congress: Help Pay For Illegal Immigration Strain on Health Care

Press Release

Location: Phoenix, AZ


Urges Continuation of Section 1011 Funding

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Governor Janet Napolitano urged Congress to continue federal funding - set to expire soon - that helps offset the cost to Arizona health care providers of treating illegal immigrants.

Funding under Section 1011 of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 provides financial relief for hospitals and other health care providers that are burdened with unpaid bills left by illegal immigrants seeking emergency medical services. Without a reauthorization by Congress, that program will expire at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

"I have long advocated that the Federal government live up to its obligation to secure the border," Governor Napolitano wrote. "However, in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, the Federal government must, at a minimum, compensate states like Arizona that bear a disproportionate burden from the failure to maintain operational control of the U.S.-Mexico
border. One such burden placed on Border States and communities is the strain on emergency services and the skyrocketing costs of uncompensated care for undocumented immigrants," she continued.

The Governor wrote that failure to reauthorize the program soon would result in a loss of about $32 million per year to the health care system in Arizona. The Governor also noted that the failure to offset these costs could increase health care costs in Arizona, writing that inaction by Congress would result in "additional costs passed on throughout the health care system."

Until Congress acts on comprehensive immigration reform, "I encourage you to support and renew programs such as Section 1011 that lessen the strain of our immigration crisis on border states," Governor Napolitano wrote.

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