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Illegal Immigration Enters the Health-Care Debate

In California, Funding Is at Stake for a Clinic That Treats Patients No Matter Their Status; An Issue 'No One Wants to Touch'

By MIRIAM JORDAN for The Wall Street Jounral
August 15, 2009

VALLEJO, Calif. -- A health clinic in this blue-collar city north of Oakland, partly funded by the county, is saving local hospitals thousands of dollars in emergency-room visits by treating uninsured patients who suffer only non-urgent ailments.

A watchdog group is now calling on county officials to cut funding for clinic patients who can't prove they are in the U.S. legally, a debate certain to surface in the national health-care overhaul.

With congressional proposals already stirring raw emotions, few supporters are eager to add the incendiary issue of illegal immigration. A provision in the House's health-care-overhaul bill rules out federal funding for illegal immigrants.

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