Former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is now under fire for a provision in his 2006 healthcare law commonly known as RomneyCare that allows illegal immigrants to access medical care along with other uninsured residents. Because of the law’s Health Safety Net program, poor, uninsured immigrants may receive taxpayer-subsidized care at a hospital or health clinic in Massachusetts at basically no cost, regardless of their immigration status.
The Massachusetts healthcare program yielded costs of more than $400 million last year and covered more than one million hospital and health clinic visits, but details on the number of illegal patients receiving medical care are not available, as the state does not record that specific data.
The Health Safety Net is funded through a blend of state money and hospital and insurer fees, and is redistributed to providers, which file claims for patients under the program. In building on a previous plan, Massachusetts established the Health Safety Net as an anchor for all state residents "who do not have access to affordable health coverage." People of any income level with "large medical bills that they cannot pay are also eligible" and "citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility," notes MassResources.org, an online information center for Massachusetts residents.
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Photo of Mitt Romney: AP Images