President Obama’s new health care law cuts money used to pay for emergency care for undocumented immigrants, a service that some of the nation’s most hard-pressed hospitals have long been required to provide.

Aside from the obvious increases in fear, stress, anxiety and workload, exactly what will happen to medical workers and hospitals that formerly had the financial support needed to provide these services is unclear.

“This is an unintended consequence of the law,” said Wendy Z. Goldstein, chief executive of Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. “But so far, nobody is doing anything to resolve it.”

Other unintended consequences could include the spread of disease and illness that might have been discovered and halted under the former funding scheme.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The New York Times:

The federal government has been spending $20 billion annually to reimburse these hospitals — most in poor urban and rural areas — for treating more than their share of the uninsured, including illegal immigrants. The health care law will eventually cut that money in half, based on the premise that fewer people will lack insurance after the law takes effect.

But the estimated 11 million people now living illegally in the United States are not covered by the health care law. Its sponsors, seeking to sidestep the contentious debate over immigration, excluded them from the law’s benefits.

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