Grapevine Reaction: Rep. Price Dislikes Characterization

A recent Political Grapevine reported:

While many lawmakers are struggling to revamp the nation’s health care, one North Carolina congressman is working to improve the free health care provided to illegal aliens.

Cybercast News reports Democrat David Price wants upgrades for the free services provided to those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Price cited some media reports about "detainee deaths that appear to have been preventable had (they) been given appropriate and timely medical attention."

But ICE says the number of deaths was four times lower last year compared to 2004 and funding for illegals' medical care is up 47 percent, including several bypass surgeries.

Since that March 4 report, Congressman Price has weighed in:

"Your newscast’s insinuation that I am attempting to expand free health care to illegal immigrants is incorrect and irresponsible. As chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I held an oversight hearing following media reports of apparently preventable deaths of detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and release of a report by the Government and Accountability Office on how ICE deals with medical problems among detainees. The hearing did not address the eligibility of various classes of immigrants for health care.

"As ICE officials have stated themselves, any preventable death of someone in custody of the federal government is unacceptable. ICE has a responsibility to treat detainees fairly and humanely, and I have my own responsibility as chairman to make sure DHS and ICE have the tools necessary to carry out this obligation thoroughly and efficiently."