Restoring Health And Human Services Cuts Vs. Coverage For Legal Immigrants

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo is laying out the budget items vetoed by Governor Deval Patrick that DeLeo will ask House members to consider overturning next week.

"Money for housing, rental assistance, senior care, substance abuse, nurses for folks who have been molested or raped..."

DeLeo says restoring money for these programs may preclude maintaining health insurance for low income legal immigrants. He says doing either may be difficult as state revenues continue to shrink. The Speaker says he is not ruling out continued health coverage for this group and is waiting to see how the Patrick administration would restructure their health plans with less money, but...

"Let me point out that these folks would never be turned away at hospitals that there always is going to be a safety net for these folks."

The Massachusetts Hospital Association says providing free care to legal immigrants previously covered by Commonwealth Care could leave hospitals with $87 million in unpaid bills. This would be in addition to a $40 million cut in the safety net fund this year.

Martha Bebinger

This program aired on July 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.