FIRST ON FOX: Top Republicans in the House and Senate introduced legislation Wednesday to prevent Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) healthcare resources from being used for illegal migrants.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Rep. Mike Bost, R-Il., chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, rolled out the legislation — known as the No VA Resources for Illegal Aliens Act — after Fox News Digital reported on complaints that the Biden administration VA is providing healthcare administrative services to illegal immigrants, potentially exacerbating long wait times for American veterans.
“Joe Biden is putting illegal immigrants over America’s veterans,” Tuberville said in a statement. “It is outrageous. Our veterans should not be forced to wait in long lines at VA medical centers and clinics to get the care they EARNED while illegal immigrants waltz across our open border and get taxpayer-funded healthcare they NEVER earned.”
“Joe Biden’s failed border policies have created a humanitarian and national security crisis. Now it appears he’s taking resources away from our veterans to facilitate healthcare for illegal migrants,” Bost said in a statement. “As a Marine, I believe any dollar taken away from a veteran is a promise broken to those who served.”
When an illegal immigrant in ICE detention requires healthcare, they are typically treated on-site by medical professionals. However, if a specialist or emergency care is required, they may be transported to an independent private provider.
In such cases, ICE contracts with the VA’s Financial Service Center (VA-FSC) to process reimbursements to those providers. According to a report from July, ICE has hundreds of letters of understanding in which ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) will reimburse providers at Medicare rates. That uses the VA-FSC’s Healthcare Claims Processing System — a portal that allows providers to submit and view claims and access other resources.
The arrangement long predates the Biden administration. It was outlined in a 2020 memo during the Trump administration, and the VA previously told Fox News Digital that it has an interagency agreement with the IHSC since 2002 to provide processing. The agency stressed that it is not the VA that either provides healthcare or pays for it.
“VA does not provide or fund any health care services to individuals detained in [ICE] custody. At no time are any VA health care professionals or VA funds used for this purpose,” VA press secretary Terrence Hayes told Fox News Digital earlier this month. “[IHSC] provides and pays for all health care services for individuals detained in its custody.”
Joining Tuberville and Bost in sponsoring the bill are Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), along with House Reps. Keith Self (R-Texas), Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa).
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.