As the debate continues about the shape of the proposed healthcare reform, ProEnglish says translation costs may add billions of dollars to the already stretched Medicare budget.
The organization, which advocates making English the official language of government in the U.S., says providing free interpreters for non-English speaking patients, as proposed in the healthcare reform legislation, will ultimately bankrupt Medicare.
"[Because the] Medicare program already faces $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities according to the most recent trustees’ report, and is predicted to be bankrupt in a few years, adding an entitlement to free translation services is unbelievably irresponsible," says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish.
He adds the provision will remove incentives for immigrants to learn English and become self-sufficient, and will shift liability for injuries or deaths due to translation errors onto the medical provider, further adding to the escalating cost of healthcare.
Meanwhile, a recent study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform has documented the cost of illegal immigration in Pennsylvania.
It says the state pays $660 million a year to educate children of illegal aliens, $50 million a year to provide healthcare for their families and an estimated $17.5 million to incarcerate criminals who are undocumented foreigners.