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Autor: anton 17 December 2010
Words: 1254 | Pages: 6
Illegal Immigration -The High Cost of Health Care
The year was 1907 and my grandmother was twelve years old. Her family had left Europe for a new and wonderful country with approximately 1.25 million other immigrants during that year. Her first stop in this new and wonderful country was Ellis Island. My Mother's family emigrated from Finland in 1907; I am a second generation American. Now 99 years later, there is again a large influx of immigrates to the United States. The difference now is that a vast majority of immigrants is crossing the borders illegally. There is a wide array of problems associated with this illegal immigration into the United States but health care is an unseen problem that affects us all with higher insurance premiums, crowded emergency departments, and closure of Hospitals.
How large of a problem are we discussing here? Estimates by Government agencies, independent organizations like Pew Hispanic Center and Center for Immigration Studies indicate that there are nine to eleven million and as high as thirteen million illegal aliens living in the United States. There is one study by Bear-Stearns investment firm saying it may be as high as twenty million. It is also generally believed that there will be as many as 1.1 million new illegally immigrants this year alone.
The health requirements for legal immigration are covered in the Immigration and Nationality Act. "Section 212(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act renders inadmissible any applicant for a visa or admission who is found, Ð’â€¦ to have a communicable disease of public health significance, which includes HIV infection." This act is not new and has been around in one form or another for over a one hundred years. Harpers Weekly, 26 August 1893, "The law also empowers Dr. Walter Wyman, the Supervising Surgeon-General, to send assistants abroad to all infected ports, who shall examine all immigrants and passengers about to come to this country, and grant each one a bill of health. Without this a passenger cannot pass the quarantine lines into this country." " Only two percent of the arriving immigrants were excluded from entry, usually if a doctor diagnosed a contagious disease that would endanger the public health or if a legal inspector thought the immigrant was likely to become a public charge or an illegal contract laborer" (Story of Immigration).
This is not so with illegal immigration. Illegal aliens can often have serious hidden medical conditions that are not common or have been eradicated in the United States with modern medicine. "We judge reality primarily by what we see. But what we do not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen" (Bastiat, Selected Essays on Political Economy). "What is seen is the illegal alien who with strong back may cough, sweat, and bleed, but is assumed healthy even though he and his illegal alien wife and children were never examined for contagious diseases" (Cosman 1). "By default, we grant health passes to illegal aliens.
Mexico's president Vincente Fox, in a speech, at the Hotel Eurobuilding in Madrid, Spain on May 16, 2002, discussed what impact the 'nueva agenda global' [new global agenda] has had on the "large Mexican communities settled in [the United States of]. He said,
In the last few months we have managed to achieve an improvement in the situation of many Mexicans in [the United States], regardless of their migratory status [illegal alien], through schemes [by using American Laws] that have permitted them access to health and education systems, identity documents [Mexican matricula consular cards], as well as the full respect for their human rights.
Yes, illegal immigrants do know our laws and how to work the system to their benefit. Take for instance the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). In his testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means, Thomas Gustafson, PH.D, Deputy Director, Center for Medicare Management, CMS had this to say, about EMTALA, "Under EMTALA, hospitals have obligations to any individual, regardless of citizenship, who requests treatment for a medical condition." He further states, "CMS' regulations implementing EMTALA require that hospitals with dedicated emergency departments provide an appropriate medical screening examination to any person who comes to the hospital emergency department and requests treatment or examination of a medical condition."
EMTALA applies to all Medicare-participating hospitals with dedicated emergency departments and applies to all individuals who request examination or treatment for any medical condition they feel is an emergency. What are the penalties for those hospitals that violate this act, Dr. Gustafson informs the committee, "A hospital that violates EMTALA may have its ability to participate in Medicare terminated and may be subject to civil penalties of up to $50,000 per violation." Besides, the loss of Medicare, a hospital who, refuses treatment can also be held liable for lawsuits
What does this mean to a hospital? EMTALA is an unfunded mandate by Congress that hospital emergency departments (EDs) treat all patients no matter what their status is; illegal aliens know this and take advantage. They come into the EDs for colds, flu, gun shot and stab wounds, car accidents, heart attacks, hang nails etc., just about anything you can think of. They have no insurance, no primary care doctor, and have no means of paying for their treatments but are awarded with extensive and expensive medical services, free of charge. Hospitals having to provide this "emergency" care on daily basis have had to curtail their services, lay-off employees or even close their doors. The costs to California hospitals alone are over 1.4 billion dollars a year and eighty- four California hospitals have or are closing their doors or filing for bankruptcy.
In addition to the direct costs of medical care, hospitals also provide translators and patient advocates to those who come through the doors and are unable to communicate in English. Recently several Hispanic advocacy groups have filed complaints with the State of California. Now, the latest requirement are for hospitals to recruit more Hispanic speaking nurses to ensure that are illegal Hispanic aliens patients are provided comprehensive medical information.
My wife and I both work in hospitals in southern California. We see and feel the effects first-hand every day on how this affects the American Citizen: the overcrowding of the emergency department; six, or seven hours to see a doctor, hospitals going bankrupt, the layoff of hospital employees, and the high cost of medical insurance. Today, illegal aliens come to America with demands. They demand to have our educational system teach them in their own language, they expect special privileges (medical care, free education, good jobs, government contracts, etc.), and they expect Americans to glorify their way of life. The United States has fallen into the political correct syndrome; we have become afraid to stand up and say, "This is our country, our land, and our lifestyle, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this, but you have to do it legally." If we do not stand up and make our voices heard that illegal imm, our way of life will soon disappear.
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