Aug. 14, 2002
The big health-care debate in Congress this summer was over the
wrong issue. Instead of threatening to bankrupt Medicare by forcing
the taxpayers to buy prescription drugs for seniors, Congress should
relieve the taxpayers and paying-patients of the burden of providing
hospital care for illegal aliens.
From Florida to California, illegal aliens show up at hospital
emergency rooms and the costs are passed along to paying patients and
to local taxpayers. The American Hospital Association estimates that
the costs of bad-debt and charity care run into the billions.
A Martin County, Florida, hospital has spent $900,000 (with no end
in sight) caring for a Guatemalan illegal who appeared at the emergency
room two years ago with a brain injury after an automobile accident.
He has no money and no family, but somehow he has a lawyer who has
successfully prevented deportation to Guatemala.
A Jamaican illegal spent 17 months under care at the same
hospital. After he ran up a bill of $500,000, he was finally sent home
St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach treats one or two
illegals a week and Delray Medical Center about 75 a month. Hospitals
are required to provide care to anyone who shows up with a life-
Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has persuaded the General Accounting Office
to study the financial costs that illegal aliens impose on hospitals.
He says "we need to remedy this problem before we can no longer afford
to take care of Americans."
Many Arizona hospitals have to treat automobile accident victims
of dangerous driving by what are called "people smugglers." Two Tucson
hospitals were stuck with treating a half dozen illegal aliens who were
injured in a nighttime crash of their car traveling on the highway at
100 miles an hour.
A San Antonio hospital treated victims suffering from dehydration
after up to 70 men, women and children were discovered by police in a
tractor-trailer rig at a truck stop. Another tractor-trailer rig
loaded with 40 illegal aliens, two of them dead from suffocation, was
also found in July in Dallas.
The Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, has been
caring for a comatose Mexican illegal ever since he got drunk and was
struck by a car in May. He can't pay for the care, of course, but his
lawyer is fighting his deportation to a Tijuana hospital.
San Diego hospitals had to face the burden of caring for 31
accident victims (not counting the seven who were killed) when a van
carrying illegals from Mexico and Brazil crashed going the wrong way on
an interstate at night with its headlights turned off.
Some aliens look upon an automobile accident as their entry ticket
into the United States. They get treated at an American hospital and
then may be released into no one's custody, and no one has any figures
on the numbers.
Instead of dealing with these existing health-care burdens, some
members of Congress are trying to hit the taxpayers with even more
costs for illegal aliens. They are trying to make illegal aliens
eligible for in-state tuition rates at publicly funded colleges and
Texas and California are already subsidizing these aliens who have
broken our laws while discriminating against students in lawful,
taxpaying families from the other 48 states. A student from Arizona,
for example, pays four times as much to attend the University of
California as an illegal alien.
Last year the taxpayers who finance Medicaid paid the hospital
bill for 6,000 illegal aliens to have their babies in Colorado. This
totaled $30 million, an average of $5,000 per baby.
Those 6,000 births to illegal aliens are 40 percent of the births
paid for by Medicaid in Colorado. Those 6,000 babies immediately
became U.S. citizens and qualified for all Medicaid services at a cost
that is not even tabulated.
To get immediate care, the illegal only has to say she is
"undocumented." Pregnant American mothers can't avoid their birth-of-
a-baby expenses so easily.
Denver Health is asking taxpayers to approve a bond issue to pay
for a bigger obstetrics unit. The present unit was built for 1,600
births a year but last year it handled 3,500.
This Colorado information was reported by Al Knight of the Denver
Post editorial board. He concluded with a fascinating comment: "There
are many groups and interests that for one reason or another don't want
this information to be available or to be discussed."
He didn't identify the "groups and interests." Who they are would
be a good question to ask your Member of Congress, along with why
Congress isn't doing its duty to protect Americans from the continued
influx of illegal aliens.