Group says illegal immigrants boost ED costs

According to this activist group, it's an open-and-shut case: illegal immigrants are substantially increasing the volume of uncompensated costs hospitals must bear each year. The vast majority of the costs come from immigrants' use of the emergency department, especially for births, according to the Washington, DC-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Emergency care costs for immigrants have hit $1.4 billion per year in California, $700 million in New York, and more than $500 million per year in Texas, said FAIR special projects director Jack Martin in a recent interview. In response to its concerns, FAIR would like to see EMTALA changed, to include measures requiring hospitals to collect information on the sponsors for legal immigrants. (The sponsors are legally responsible for the bills.) Others, meanwhile, say that FAIR's estimates are overblown. Competing research by the Rand Corporation suggests that American taxpayers paid a total of $1.1 billion in healthcare costs for illegal immigrants between the ages of 18 and 64 during the year 2000, far less than the yearly estimates FAIR has developed.

Research the "immigrants in the ED" issue further:
- read this United Press International piece