GAO Announces Plans To Study Cost of Treating Undocumented Immigrants in U.S. Hospitals
The General Accounting Office announced yesterday that it will begin a study in the next few months to analyze the cost of providing health care to undocumented immigrants in U.S. hospitals, the Arizona Republic reports. Emi Brock, assistant director for legislative affairs at the GAO, said that no deadline has been set for the completion of the study -- the office's first attempt to document how much money hospitals lose in treating uninsured, undocumented immigrants who cannot afford to pay for care. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), one of eight House members who requested the study, has asked the GAO to recommend possible solutions, including charging "countries of origin" for undocumented immigrants' unpaid medical care. According to Laurie Lange, vice president of public affairs for the Arizona Health and Hospital Association, the group has projected that the cost to Arizona hospitals could top $50 million per year in uncompensated, federally mandated health care to undocumented immigrants. Lange added, "[W]e believe that [figure] is an underestimate" (House, Arizona Republic, 7/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.