To Cut Medicaid Costs, GOP Governors Target Illegal Immigrants

Republican governors have a new target in their quest to cut Medicaid costs: illegal immigrants.

In a report released Tuesday, the Republican Governors Association outlined 31 solutions that it says would bring down the cost. Medicaid is a top budget item for states, and governors from both parties have complained it’s busting their purse as more people lose jobs and qualify for the federal-state insurance program for the poor.

The RGA has floated most of the ideas before, but one jumped out as new. Solution No. 5 would “require the federal government to take full responsibility for the uncompensated care costs of treating illegal aliens.” Keep in mind that federal law already prohibits illegal immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid.

But RGA Policy Chairman and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said illegal immigrants sneak onto the program in his and other states and add to its tab.

“Let’s don’t kid ourselves,” Gov. Barbour told reporters during a briefing at RGA headquarters in Washington. “There are people who are getting on the system and violating the law.”

WSJ
8/30/11