General

Involving undocumented immigrants in the healthcare debate underscores the ignorance and futility of the argument

Involving undocumented immigrants in the healthcare debate underscores the ignorance and futility of the argument

LatinaLista — There's a difference between health-care and health-care coverage.

One is the act of receiving health-care. The other is the act of paying for a policy and/or entitled to coverage for impending health issues.
Some of these vocal opponents of Obama's health-care plan are trying to confuse the issue when it comes to undocumented immigrants. Their secret hope is to derail the President's plan by shouting out statements to the effect that this health-care coverage would include undocumented immigrants.
The equivalent to this asinine comment is the same as Sarah Palin talking about death panels!
Since undocumented immigrants cannot legally work, they are not entitled to government-sponsored health coverage like Medicaid or Medicare nor are they included on any employer plans, unless they are working with a false Social Security card. Then they are paying their premiums like every other employee in the business.
State after state has documented that the likelihood of undocumented immigrants trying to cheat the system is nil to practically non-existent.
Yet, for those undocumented immigrants who don't have a false Social Security card, chances are they are paying out-of-pocket for their own healthcare appointments. It's something we certainly see in the state of Texas where families getting their children ready for school must get them immunized and seen by a doctor for their annual physicals.
When it comes time to pay, they pay upfront.
Let's not forget, when it comes to saving money most Americans could take a lesson from undocumented immigrants who can juggle living on below-poverty wages, put food on the table, provide the kids with what they need, keep a roof over their heads and still send money back home to their families.
But what happens when an emergency arises?
Then undocumented immigrants become like every uninsured American in the nation.


When a health emergency arises, it usually involves excruciating pain or a life and death scenario. When a person doesn't have insurance, even those who do, such emergencies catch us all off guard. However, there is one basic instinct that kicks all of us into gear when we see a loved one experience a health emergency -- we find health-care at that moment in time.
In this day and age, on-the-spot emergency health-care means going to a hospital's emergency room.
Undocumented immigrants get sick too and to think that it's alright to let people suffer because they don't have health insurance or the thousands and thousands of dollars needed to cover just one night in the ER and all the tests, procedures, etc. is not just inhumane and unAmerican but unrealistic for a species, that by nature, is empathetic.
However, it's true that the burden of caring for undocumented immigrants at hospitals, which is the same for uninsured Americans, burdens hospitals.

A Las Vegas hospital providing emergency dialysis services to 80 illegal immigrants says that accounts for much of its operating deficit.
The University Medical Center says the treatment will cost it about $24 million this fiscal year, aggravating a budget deficit that is expected to approach $70 million.
...Our people are really torn," Brannman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We want to take care of people who are ill. We're proud that we can save lives. But our employees are also worried about the survival of UMC. They know that the appetite of taxpayers for helping undocumented immigrants is limited."
..."I am so thankful to this hospital for doing this for someone who is not a citizen," Marta Berrera told the newspaper through an interpreter. "Without this help, I would die and my four children would be without a mother."

Clearly, we cannot allow people to die, and unlike uninsured Americans, there may be a way to recoup some lost revenue from undocumented immigrants.
Either we officially recognize undocumented immigrants and create a realistic payment plan -- one that doesn't gouge patients for every unnecessary item and/or procedure -- that allows them, as well as uninsured Americans, to repay their bills or we split the cost between the patient and their home country's remittances (if that was possible) or take the surplus Social Security money that exists, due to all the people using false Social Security numbers and who are paying taxes in false names, and apply portions of that surplus towards the hospital bills.
The solution to paying the hospital bills of undocumented immigrants is right before us if anybody gave it a second thought rather than paying attention to a group of vocally ignorant citizens who think they can defeat Obama's health-care plan and rid the country of undocumented immigrants at the same time.
They should know it just isn't going to happen like that -- nor are their lies going to go unchallenged.

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