WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., introduced the “Protect Medicaid Act,” which would prohibit federal taxpayer money from being spent to administer state Medicaid benefits to noncitizens. If a state chooses to give Medicaid benefits to illegal residents, the bill ensures that state does so entirely on its own dime, without any costs to taxpayers in other states.
“There is a crisis at our southern border, and the solution cannot be to reward bad behavior,” Senator Wicker said. “Mississippians are already feeling the pain in their own pocketbooks. The last thing they want is to subsidize an illegal immigrant’s journey to the United States.”
Senator Wicker joined bill lead, Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., along with Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
Federal law already bars illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid, but states like California get around federal law by using state funds to extend Medicaid benefits to illegal immigrants. Of course, this would be less financially feasible if the state did not already receive millions of dollars from the federal government.
The Protect Medicaid Act also requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to review and report on:
- How states that provide Medicaid services to illegal immigrants keep federal and state dollars separate.
- Whether states providing health benefits to illegal immigrants use gimmicks that rip off the federal government, like provider taxes and intergovernmental transfers, to launder federal dollars to offset the cost of providing benefits to this population.
- Whether people in the country illegally benefit from covered outpatient drugs purchased under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and the 340B program, and whether this impacts the prices American citizens pay.