Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Health > 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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  • Jimmy
    August 19, 2009 at 5:39 am

    There is no doubt in the minds of most Americans that since these people live on the margins of survival we would wind up subsidizing millions of illegal aliens who will never realistically afford to pay for it themselves. While most Americans will gladly pay their share of the health care bill, they are extremely reluctant to pay a nickel for people who aren’t supposed to be here. And the polls continue to show a declining support for the illegal aliens. Latinos are not being ruled by their heads on this issue, but by their hearts. I for one do not think that we can afford to pay for these people. Isn’t it enough they get to stay here, without also demanding the additional privilege of health care as citizens? You ask too much of the rest of America. Your overreach will result in the failure of CIR.

  • cookie
    August 19, 2009 at 7:35 am

    I am not going to comment on whether or not Obama’s healthcare plan will include “illegal aliens” or not because I couldn’t possibly interpret the bill by myself but it is a problem in our country already anyway. These kids in our country illegally are covered by medicaid already as it is not allowed to ask for the parent’s or the kids status in our country.
    This whole problem of them being a burden to our society in many ways would all disappear if our immigration laws were enforced properly and our borders secured. The solution isn’t to figure out to make them less of a burden but to remove this burden from our country.

  • Irma
    August 19, 2009 at 11:58 am

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
    I believe in this America not the one that
    Cookie seems to prefer.

  • cookie
    August 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Irma, we already take in the “tired, poor, etc” and have since that statue was erected. But as times have changed such as increased population growth and this country has already been built since that statue was erected that poem cannot be taken literally for eternity. If you really think so then I guess you don’t have a problem with every single tired, poor person in the world coming here in any numbers today? Do you know how many billions that would be? Get real, for God’s sake and grow some common sense. That is why we had to make immigration laws because otherwise that is exacty what would have happened!

  • Traci
    August 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
    Hmmm…Maybe they should add a line about disregarding federal laws and identity theft. “Give me you border violators, future welfare clients and identity thieves.” Even back then immigrants came to this country on our terms, not theirs. We opened Ellis Island to check for the chronically ill, criminals and paupers. They were repatriated. Present day border jumpers don’t give us the courtesy of permitting inspection. And the potential immigrants who were sent home were civilized and accepting of their fate. None were permitted the in-your-face marches and ranting in our streets, questioning our authority to send them home.
    That has never been U.S. immigration policy, despite its inscription upon a plaque on the Statue of Liberty. Just imagine that all the poor and uneducated actually showed up on our door stop. Even you would bit*h about that. Ema Lazarus’ poem was just that, a poem. If her wish had come true this nation would have been inundated with beggars on our streets and her name would have been mud. I think that this turn-of-the-century thinking is outdated. Americans have every right to establish their immigration policies and control our borders, and nothing is going to change that point of view. What next, Irma, references to horse and buggies?
    An amnesty today would eventually garner millions in taxpayer subsidized benefits for the current illegal alien population with their large families and below the poverty level earnings status. And now they’re even demanding taxpayer subsidized health care. So much for the claims that they are net contributors to our tax base.
    Since Irma and her friends are probably one of millions of people who don’t pay net taxes, it’s easy for her to impose new taxes on those who do.

  • Che
    August 20, 2009 at 11:22 am

    “Either we officially recognize undocumented immigrants…”
    -this was tried in ’86 to slow down the large influx of illegals, it didn’t work and it actually made the illegal immigrant problem worse.
    “…take the surplus Social Security money that exists…”
    -are you serious? do you know the condition of present day SS. fyi- a major reason it is what it is has to do with what happened in ’86.
    “…citizens who think they can defeat Obama’s health-care plan…”
    -what BHO wants to do has been what the left has been wanting to do since JFK. what BHO wants to do is what socialist countries have done in the past and we all now how that turns out! Fail!!

  • irma
    August 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Yes, but what would Jesus say?
    I presume both Cookie and Traci are

  • Traci
    August 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “Yes, but what would Jesus say?
    I presume both Cookie and Traci are
    Perhaps Jesus would say: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Caesar was government incarnate. Jesus was saying obey the laws of the land. Perhaps Irma shouldn’t be so selective about her fidelity to the word of God.
    If we all did what Jesus advised his disciples to do; give up our jobs, our wealth and our families, we’d have starving women and children, and there would be no one to pay taxes to keep our nation viable. And if we were as egalitarian as Irma would have our nation be, then we’d have to open our borders to the billions of poor and wretched of the entire world, for isn’t that what she’s advocating by citing Ema Lazarus? Or is she just be disingenuous and only referring to God’s chosem, the Latino community.
    And since our country prohibits mixing the interests of the State and religion, I find her statement offensive. This issue has already been decided by the people, as evident by their immigration laws. It’s up to Latinos to convince everyone to accept 20 million or so illegal aliens who will most likely prove to be welfare clients. Thus far your pity story is a complete failure.

  • laura
    August 20, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    With regard to health: immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, use the health care system much less than people born in the US. There are two reasons for this. One is that immigrants tend to be younger and come here early in life with all the health and energy of youth.
    The other, more interesting reason is that immigrants, especially from Latin American countries, have much healthier habits than people born in the US. Their diets are vastly better, and they walk more and have more physical activity (think of hanging clothes out to dry vs. throwing clothes in the dryer). My personal guess (unsubstantiated by data, unlike the diet and the physical activity) is that they also use significantly less drugs.
    With regard to health, I suggest that individuals born in the US could benefit substantially by adopting some of the habits of recent immigrants – like cooking your own food from scratch, and the whole family sitting down to eat together whenever possible. We could save billions of dollars in health expenditures by these simple measures alone.
    Why should undocumented workers be included in health insurance? One simple reason is: Because they often have their health damaged by working for US employers. I have sadly seen too many damaged spines and joints, too many skin rashes and too much asthma, in people who lack very basic protections at work.

  • cookie
    August 21, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Laura, perhaps you should read what Marisa said about Latinos and their being more susceptable to all kinds of deseases then. I have no knowledge of this but apparently she does so your statements about their healthy lifestyles and diets and good health has pretty much been self-destructed then. You are making claims you can’t back up. It is ridiculous to claim that non-hispancs don’t cook from scratch and cook healthy foods. That simply isn’t true. There are just as many hispanic as non-hispanics who do not and eat fast food or junk food. Much of the home cooked food that hispanic’s cook from scratch are lard laden and not healthy for you. There is much obesity among hispanics. Who do you think you are kidding?
    No, illegals should not be covered by any national healtchare program! Emergency care should be all that they are entitled to. So because the employers are breaking the law by hiring them and the illegals are accepting them knowing full well that they are also breaking the law, the American taxpayer and/or our government should cover their medical expenses? Surely you jest! Let the damned crooked employer cover them then!

  • George
    August 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    “Why should undocumented workers be included in health insurance? One simple reason is: Because they often have their health damaged by working for US employers. I have sadly seen too many damaged spines and joints, too many skin rashes and too much asthma, in people who lack very basic protections at work.”
    These people would have to get their health care free, because they certainly cannot contribute their fair share.
    Send these exploited people home. I’m sure they wouldn’t have to work hard on the farms in Mexico with all their fringe benefits, five week vacations, air conditioning, high wages, humane employers, executive toilets and modern farm equipment.
    Why should the U.S. do what is the responsibility of Mexico, El Salvador and et al. Latinos should take care of Latino’s after all. Isn’t that what you’re touting as the function of the clan when you establish La Raza and PRLDF, et al? It would seem that Latinos would rather have Anglos pay the bills, after all, that’s where the deep pockets are. Mexico should take care of their nationals and pay for their health care, as that is what a government is paid to do. That country’s failure to educate them; essentially driving them across the Southwest desert and into the fields of the U.S. is what is really hurting Latinos, not those opposed to illegal immigrants. Strangely, we don’t hear about Latino-Americans ranting about Mexico’s failure to do its duty, only about the U.S. responsibility for taking care of the Mexican mess. Well, we Anglos are tired of hearing about Latinos bellyaching about the treatment of people who were never invited here in the first place, who DEMAND rights their not entitled to and who have the audacity to want free health care even before their legal status has been ascertained by the American people.

  • Roberto
    September 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    “I have sadly seen too many damaged spines and joints, too many skin rashes and too much asthma, in people who lack very basic protections at work.”
    Laura describes the same conditions in Mexico, maybe worse, so George is right, these people would no doubt have a hard life regardless of where they live, as they are unskilled and illiterate. Since they are invading the U.S., they are likely being treated better here. In the case of illegal aliens in the U.S. it is very likely that the American people, and not Mexicans citizens that will wind up paying for their health care. I think that if Ameican Latinos are so bent on supporting these people, then they, and they alone should pay for it.

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