WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today renewed an effort to ensure the long-term integrity of Medicaid by preventing liberal states like California from forcing American citizens in other states to subsidize state programs that expand Medicaid benefits to illegal immigrants.

Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of the Protect Medicaid Act, which was reintroduced by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.).  Hyde-Smith also cosponsored Cassidy’s bill during the 116th Congress.

“California and other liberal states have gamed the system for years to provide Medicaid to illegal immigrants, which is against the law and forces Mississippi taxpayers to foot some of the bill.  The Biden border crisis and liberal policies are making the situation worse and more costly,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This bill is an attempt to stop the abuse of the Medicaid program and force liberal states to carry the burden of their choice to give Medicare benefits to noncitizens.”

“Medicaid for migrants is a magnet for more illegal immigration,” said Cassidy.  “This is terrible public policy for California citizens who depend on Medicaid, middle-class families paying taxes, and state debt.  Taking care of the most vulnerable Americans should be our priority.  Attempting to provide health care to everyone around the globe for free is not possible or feasible.  Compassion that cannot be sustained is not compassion.”

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.  Giving Medicaid to noncitizens in California is expected to cost more than $3 billion annually, an option that would be less financially feasible if the state did not already receive millions of dollars from the federal government.

The Protect Medicaid Act would prohibit federal money from being spent on administering state Medicaid benefits paid for by American citizens 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.

The legislation would also require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General 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.

The Protect Medicaid Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and John Barrasso, M.D. (R-Wyo.).