Fox hosts Stuart Varney and Tucker Carlson criticized programs that provide health care coverage to undocumented immigrants, saying the programs “seriously squeeze local budgets” and are “suicidal.” However, according to The Wall Street Journal article that Varney and Carlson cite, politicians in the 20 counties that are spending $1 billion a year to provide free or very low-cost health care coverage for undocumented immigrants pointed out that, “it is cheaper, safer and easier to give basic health services to immigrants who can't get insurance than to treat them only in the county's emergency rooms.” The Journal also explained that “American hospitals have long been required by law to screen and stabilize any patient, regardless of his or her ability to pay, which means taxpayers already are committed to paying for care in its most expensive setting.” And the New England Healthcare Institute estimated that the same care a person, including an undocumented immigrant, receives in an emergency room “costs two to five times less at a primary care doctor.” From the March 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Well, health care coverage for illegal immigrants may be banned under federal law, and it is. But a new report shows that out of 25 U.S. counties with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations, 20 of them have programs that cover medical costs for illegal aliens. It costs taxpayers more than $1 billion a year. Here to break down the numbers on this, Stuart Varney host of Varney & Co. on the Fox Business Network. We're glad to have him this morning. Great to see you, Stuart.
STUART VARNEY: Thanks very much, Tucker. nice to be here.
CARLSON: So, this is illegal, and yet it's happening?
VARNEY: Yes, that is precisely right. They don't get health care coverage from the federal government.
VARNEY: And they're not part of Obamacare, but counties in America with a large number of illegals in those counties, they do have programs to provide free or very, very low-cost health care to illegal immigrants. As you just pointed out, it's the Wall Street Journal, they've looked at 20 counties in America and found that they are spending $1 billion a year to provide free or very low-cost coverage for illegals. They get doctors visits, flu shots, drugs, lab tests, some surgery, all paid for by local taxpayers. Now they, all illegals of course, can go to the emergency room. That's the law. You're sick, you go to the emergency room, they've got to treat you.
CARLSON: Anybody can.
VARNEY: Anybody can do that. So, now you add on top of this the free coverage that's given in some counties in America and you've basically got health care coverage for illegal immigrants being paid for probably by middle America. That's who's paying for it.
CARLSON: Of course, because there's so much federal money to the states.
VARNEY: What you've got here is that you are stabilizing the illegal population in the United States. They've got education. They've got health care. They've got driver's licenses in many cases. They are here. That entrenches their position in America and seriously squeezes local budgets. You want to build a new road, you want to build a new bridge, and yet you've got to pay for illegal health care coverage at the same time. You're getting squeezed from all sides here.
CARLSON: Such a good point. It's suicidal.