On national television, President Barack Obama contended this week that his plan to overhaul the country's health care system wouldn't spend a single federal dime on undocumented immigrants.
As he spoke, a Republican congressman called the president a liar — once again bringing the incendiary issue of illegal immigration to the forefront of the national debate on health care.
While some say undocumented immigrants are scapegoats in an already heated debate, others say they are part of a bigger problem about how to handle a national health care crisis to control medical costs.
In a climate of economic trouble and rising insurance premiums, the cost of providing care to illegal immigrants has become a focus of public concern, putting pressure on politicians at all levels of government.
Sacramento and Yolo counties recently said they would begin requiring proof of citizenship before providing treatment at county clinics.
Few dispute that undocumented immigrants pose some financial drain on the nation's health care system, but some experts say the extent of that cost has been wildly exaggerated.
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