Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled that public hospital districts in the state aren't obligated to provide free nonemergency care to undocumented immigrants.
The ruling contradicts an opinion issued in January by the Tarrant County, Texas, district attorney, who said counties are required to provide such care under a 2003 state law.
Officials of the Montgomery County (Texas) Hospital District, who asked for Abbott's opinion, said adding undocumented immigrants to their charity-care system would be a financial hardship.
The 2003 state law was passed in order to allow public hospital districts to provide free care to undocumented immigrants following a controversial ruling by then-Attorney General John Cornyn. In 2001, Cornyn said federal law bars local governments from using tax money to provide benefits to illegal immigrants in the absence of an overriding state law.