Pelosi Statement on
Defeat of Republican Bill to Turn Health Care Providers Into Immigration
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released the
following statement in opposition to H.R. 3722, the Undocumented
Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendments of 2004, sponsored
by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Under this bill, hospitals
would not receive critical federal reimbursement for the emergency
care of undocumented immigrants unless they question their emergency
patients to determine their citizenship, immigration, and financial
status and obtain employer information. The bill was defeated by
a vote of 331-88:
the great things about this country is that hospitals provide care
for anyone who walks through their doors. This legislation fundamentally
changes that by turning health care providers into immigration enforcement
"Burdening hospitals and medical personnel with enforcing immigration
laws will hinder their ability to fulfill their primary mission
- tending to the sick and injured.
"Hospital caregivers are already overburdened with paperwork,
which requires at least 30 minutes for every hour of patient care.
Hospitals would also be forced to allocate funding for new non-medical
equipment and personnel, diverting funds from patient care. Rather
than force hospitals to create large immigration bureaucracies,
Republicans should focus on making health care more affordable for
the 44 million people who do not have health insurance.
"We have a responsibility to provide security and protection
for our citizens. This legislation endangers our communities by
exposing them to serious health risks if individuals with infectious
diseases avoid treatment for fear of deportation.
"It is unacceptable for Republicans to divert money from already
cash strapped hospitals and endanger public health -- all to pay
off the debt to a Republican member for his vote on another bill."
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