State Rep Jim Lyons Demands Answers

State Representative Jim Lyons
State Representative Jim Lyons

Governor Patrick Administration Refuses to Say How Much is Spent on Illegals

By: Tom Duggan – November 2012

State Representative Jim Lyons (D) Andover, has turned Beacon Hill on it’s dome by demanding to know how much money the state is spending for health care on illegal aliens. Last monthLyons made the Patrick Administration and the democrats on Beacon Hill blink, forcing the administration to admit that the taxpayers of the Commonwealth pay more than $93MIL on health care for illegals in Massachusetts.

“My thoughts are that our tax dollars should be going to our citizens and only our citizens, period. In order to receive benefits in Massachusetts you need to be a legal citizen of the state and the country, or defined as a legal immigrant.”

“I think that’s one the things during the campaign I found out, people want to know how their money is being spent and if it’s being spent wisely. This isn’t about noon-citizens for me. If you look at how other tax dollars are spent, we have education collaborative in Chelmsford, they are missing $30 million dollars! I mean these guys pay themselves half a million bucks with absolute non accountability. This kind of waste has to stop! It’s not just one area that I am concerned with here. How the government spends people’s money and getting access to that information is paramount to serving the public. I say let the sun shine on where all the money is going and let there be transparency.”

“People have had it,” Lyons continued. They’ve had it with watching their tax dollars being spent with no accountability. The first thing we have to do to protect the tax payers money, is to know where it’s going. As legislators and citizens we know we are making choices as to how we are spending our money and the people deserve to know what those choices are.

Getting Answers

Lyons says that it started on May 14th of this year when he attended a cost containment conference on health insurance In the Massachusetts sponsored by State Senator Barry Finegold.

I was there with Governor Patrick’s Secretary of Health and Human Services,Bigby, and there were a lot of doctors there talking about how to contain the cost of what we spend on health care,” Lyons told the Valley Patriot.

“One doctor says ‘I am an ER doctor in East Boston’ and proceeded to tell the story of a man who came into the ER and was admitted to the hospital incurring $350,000 worth of medical care. This person is not a citizen of Massachusetts, he isn’t a citizen of the country and yet the bills were paid by taxpayers of the Commonwealth.”

“I almost fell over. Clearly any discussion about cost containment in health care has to addresses what we spend on citizens vs. non-citizens,” he said boldly.

Lyons had been asking for information on the breakdown of money spent on illegal aliens for months and says he started asking Secretary Bigby during the cost containment conference. “She was sitting next to me and I asked if I could get that information and she said she would get it to me,” he says.

Lyons called Secretary Bigby’s office multiple times in the coming weeks and was promised he would get the information, but after speaking with two other people in Bigby’s office and being granted a meeting with the Patrick Administration he was told  they were supposed to bring the financial breakdown with them for the meeting.

“When I got there they didn’t have the information, they just gave me a breakdown of the requirements of those who receive health care services but not the information I was looking for.”

Finally, Lyons says, when the vote came up for a $480MIL supplemental spending package (which put $350MIL into the rainy day fund and $150MIL on various social programs), Lyons used a procedural maneuver to force the Deval Patrick administration to turn over the numbers.

“I had been asking for this for months,” Lyons says. “The people of this state have a right to know how much of their money is being spent on people who are not citizens of the state or citizens of the commonwealth,” he added.

“So I had filed legislation to amend the supplemental budget to force the governor to outline how much money was being spent on non-citizens. That was passed in House, sent to the Senate and the senate pulled my amendment out of the budget.” Lyons says when the amendment came back to the House for approval they tried to ram though a vote without even having a quorum present in the hall.

So Lyons called for a roll call saying he doubted that a quorum was present to push through the vote. Since the legislature normally doesn’t’ want a roll call vote where the public can have a record of how they voted, Lyons beat them at their own game.

“Finally on Friday,” Lyons continued, “rather than have to take a roll call vote, at about 2 o’clock in afternoon, Secretary Bigby called and said she wanted to meet me and that she would, in fact give me the amount of money that we are spending on healthcare for non-citizens. I said’ fine, that’s a good first step’.Ten days later when the governor signed the supplemental budget she provided that number, $93 Million dollars.