Divert migrant hotel $2M to rescue local hospitals

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

A few weeks ago the 2024 Legislature passed a budget bill that dedicates $2 million of tax dollars to “newcomer” services.  In the past, this has meant spending $29 million for a welcome hotel near the Portland airport for illegal, unvetted migrants.

Because this budget bill is now law, it will be hard to change anything before the money is spent by the time lawmakers re-assemble in the building in 2025.    If our State agency is going spend the $2 million on illegal migrant services, then they should spend it instead on saving our local hospitals which are directly paying the cost for “newcomer” services.   Right now, Oregon hospitals are bleeding tens of millions of dollars in losses.  Health clinics are closing.  Even long-standing large hospitals like Legacy are desperate for a merger partner to survive.

Oregon hospitals are going under because they have to pick up the cost of Oregon’s failed drug experiment, Oregon’s crime wave, Oregon’s homeless crisis and now a growing illegal migrant wave.   Lawmakers have responded to this health-cost catastrophe by raising both taxes and fees on Oregon hospitals and health care companies.

It only makes sense that if funds are already going to “newcomer” services it should go to lifesaving expenses that go to saving the lives of those very people while saving the life of the hospital.   If this $2 million goes to more “welcome hotels” for illegal migrants, then the word will spread and more migrants will come to Oregon because they heard you can get free hotel services here.   One migrant already using the hotel services told KGW-TV that the reason she came to Oregon was for the free services, “They told me that it was better here [Oregon], that there are jobs — that they provide help here.”  In a way, she was right because she landed a free hotel — but the money is running out.

As noted by Lars Larson on his show, when it comes to “newcomer” services we must remember that some of the migrants in Oregon came here legally as they are former military interpreters from Afghanistan who helped our soldiers in the field.  If we are going to help them, then help them if they have medical issues (many do because of untreated conditions and hazard war-environments from where they came from).

Let hospitals inventory their costs from migrant services so they can tap into this fund.   It is so much more valuable than subsidizing hotels.   Realistically there is no stopping the funds form being spent in the next few months, but there is a chance to make sure they are spent better.