Archive for September, 2010

How are illegal immigrants getting free health care?

I heard in a lot of debate about illegal immigrants and how they care free services such as health care. I became a U.S citizen two years ago and I’ve been trying to find cheaper and quality health care, but I couldn’t. I researched free health care online, but can’t find it. I don’t have health insurance, so whenever I visit the doctor, I either pay upfront if it’s about $200 or they send me the bills if its way higher. So how are illegal immigrants getting free health care?

First off, illegal aliens are not immigrants. Immigrants follow laws. They get free health care by not paying bills when going to emergency rooms, giving false names and addresses etc… It also cost American taxpayers over $6000.00 per birth for each anchor baby born. That is if there are no complications.

In a recent year in Colorado, the state’s emergency Medicaid program paid an estimated $30 million in hospital and physician delivery costs for about 6,000 illegal immigrant mothers – average of $5,000 per baby. Those 6,000 births to illegal aliens represent 40% of the births paid for by Medicaid in Colorado. Those 6,000 babies immediately became U.S. citizens and qualified for full Medicaid services, with a cost yet to be tabulated.

The federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) mandates that U.S. hospitals with emergency-room services must treat anyone who requires care, including illegal aliens. Medical service for Americans in affected communities is being severely damaged as hospitals absorb more than $200 million in unreimbursed costs. Some emergency rooms have shut down because they cannot afford to stay open. Local tax-paying Americans are either denied medical care or have to wait in long lines for service as the illegals flood the facilities. In California, the losses are calculated to be about $79 million, with $74 million in Texas, $31 million in Arizona, and $6 million in New Mexico.

These costs are staggering. The Cochise County, Arizona Health Department spends as much as 30 percent of its annual $9 million budget on illegal aliens. The Copper Queen Hospital in Bisbee, Arizona, has spent $200,000 in uncompensated services out of a net operating budget of $300,000. The University Medical Center in Tucson may lose as much as $10 million and the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, also in Tucson, has lost $1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2002.
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ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION HEALTHCARE COSTS AFFECT YOU!
Published 06/01/2010 – CST By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

In both Tucson and Dallas where I have practiced medicine, hospitals are struggling under massive costs of uncompensatedmedical services for uninsured people who, by federal law, cannot be turned away for lack of insurance or ability to pay.

How much does this uncompensated care actually cost taxpayers? The incredible answer: no one knows.

We only have “estimates” of the costs to taxpayers to treat illegal immigrants because hospitals and public health clinics do not ask for proof of citizenship before providing care.

What are consequences to taxpaying citizens?

1. Increased cost and reduced access to trauma care. Tucson has lost all but one Level I Trauma Center to serve all of southern Arizona, in large part due to massive, unsustainable losses from uncompensated care. Auto accidents involving overloaded vans of illegal aliens happen regularly in southern Arizona. Injured are flown by air ambulance to University Medical Center’s Trauma Center and treated with state of the art care….all at taxpayer expense.

2. A registered nurse involved with the Pima County health system since the 1970’s who must remain anonymous because of her role, said she has never seen any staff member at either El Rio Clinic or Pima County Health Department ask for proof of citizenship before providing free medical services (immunizations, Well Baby checks, food stamps, WIC services, birth control, and even elective abortions). Costs are paid by taxpayers. When funds are depleted, low income American citizens have fewer services and longer waits as a result.

3. This same RN also said: “I personally know Mexican men who married 16 year old girls, got them pregnant, brought them to Tucson for the baby to become a US citizen. They livein Mexico but come here for their health care. Taxpayers pay for this medical care many ways, at the Public Health Department, and with school nurses who provide care.”

4. Uncompensated medical services for illegal immigrants mean higher premiums for all of us due to cost shifting among all third party payers. To cover the deficits from “free” medical services they provide, the administration at University Physicians Health System Kino campus is analyzing how much to increase employeehealth insurance premiums as of July 1.

5. Obamacare cuts benefits to American citizens: $500 billion in Medicare cuts and slashing the Medicare Advantage program. Medicare Advantage, chosen by one in five seniors, is the most popular plan for low and moderate income seniors, and covers about half of our Hispanic or African-American elderly. My patients on Medicare have worked and paid into the system over their working careers, yet these cuts mean less health­care available to them now. We certainly cannot afford to cover those here illegally.

6. Hospitals in Tucson and Dallas also provide uncompensated (“free”) maternity services to pregnant women here illegally. Their babies then become US citizens entitled to all of the services available for low income American families – food stamps, WIC, immunizations, office visits, medications, etc. This drives up costs to all of us: higher premiums for private insurance companies, and higher taxes for government insurance like Arizona’s Medicaid (AHCCCS).

7. Professional estimates are that over halfof the pregnant women served at Parkland Hospital in Dallas are in this country illegally. With over 16,000 deliveries a year, Parkland is one of the nation’s busiest maternity services with prenatal clinics for low income women to receive free prenatal care, nutrition, medication, birthing classes, child care classes, and free supplies (formula, diapers, bottles, car seats). Taxpayers pay the bills.