Doctors Soaked by Translator Costs

The Bush administration is threatening to yank federal money from physicians, hospitals and clinics that don't comply with a policy put in place in the prior administration that aims to help immigrants gain access to medical care.

Four years ago, President Clinton signed the executive order requiring doctors who treat Medicare (searchand Medicaid (search) patients to hire translators for those who don't speak English.

"The problem here is that we're required by a presidential order, without funding, to have translation in every single language requested by the patient. So this could be up to 500 languages," said Dr. Clifford Colwell, who is fighting back with thousands of other doctors who are suing the federal government, claiming the rule is unconstitutional.

While the doctors agree that each professional worth his or her salt must be able to communicate with patients, they insist the cost of the requirement will leave many patients without care.

But Dr. Jane Delgado of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (search) argues that hiring translators doesn't add much to the cost of health care, and may actually save money in the long run.

A spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services said the agency is not looking for around-the-clock translators in every language, just someone to be available. Many who have not complied are now under investigation.

Click on the box near the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.