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Bankrupt Medicare to be Burdened With $Billions More for Translation Costs Says ProEnglish
Date:8/18/2009

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Proposed health care reform legislation now under consideration in Congress will add billions of dollars of un-reimbursed cost to the Medicare program to provide free interpreters for non-English speaking patients," says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish, a national organization that advocates for making English the official language of government in the United States.

The "America's Affordable Health Choices Act," H.R. 3200, Section 1221 (b) says Medicare health care providers that fail to "substantially provide language services to limited English proficient beneficiaries" face severe fines and penalties.

"In light of the fact that 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," McAlpin charges.

"It is bad public policy because it removes more incentives for immigrants to learn English and become self-sufficient - something that is not only in the immigrants' interest but our nation as a whole," he adds.

"It should not be overlooked that by requiring providers to provide interpreters, H.R. 3200 transfers liability for injuries or deaths due to translation errors from the patient to the medical provider, which will only add to the skyrocketing cost of provider insurance coverage. That simply makes no sense," McAlpin concludes.


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SOURCE ProEnglish
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