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Journal Of American Physicians And Surgeons Says Illegal Aliens Threaten Destruction Of American Health Care System

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The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons has a report (PDF Format) in their spring issue that points out the detriment of illegal aliens to the health and health care system of Americans.

From the report:

The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences. 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.

Illegal aliens stealthy assaults on medicine now must rouse Americans to alert and alarm. Even President Bush describes illegal aliens only as they are seen: strong physical laborers who work hard in undesirable jobs with low wages, who care for their families, and who pursue the American dream.

What is unseen is their free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America's finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies: 84 California hospitals are closing their doors. "Anchor babies" born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income.


What is seen is the political statistic that 43 million lives are at risk in America because of lack of medical insurance. What is unseen is that medical insurance does not equal medical care. Uninsured people receive medical care in hospital emergency departments (EDs) under the coercive Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985 (EMTALA), which obligates hospitals to treat the uninsured but does not pay for that care.


The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires every ED to treat anyone who enters with an "emergency," including cough, headache, hangnail, cardiac arrest, herniated lumbar disc, drug addiction, alcohol overdose, gunshot wound, automobile trauma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive infection, mental problem, or personality disorder. The definition of emergency is flexible and vague enough to include almost any condition. Any patient coming to a hospital ED requesting ìemergencyî care must be screened and treated until ready for discharge, or stabilized for transfer - whether or not insured, "documented," or able to pay.

This is a ridiculous law that just begs for abuse. The hospitals are required by law to take care of these "emergency" patients even if a doctor deems the injury non-life threatening at the time. If they do not take care of a patient they face massive fines and potential lawsuits by litigious lawyers. The government implemented these laws in 1985 and health care costs have skyrocketed. Where does the money to support all these uninsured patients come from? Well it comes from increased charges to those who can pay and increased health insurance premiums.

Read the whole report, it is disgusting and depressing.

Tipped by: Lonewacko

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Posted by Digger on March 14, 2005 02:36 AM (Permalink)

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Digger - Thank you for the information regarding my other posts. The links you provided really helped me with understanding the issues. I sincerely hope you will post this message as it is based on real life experience, not research as the Dr. tries to explain it. Thank you.

While I'm sure Dr. Cosman is well educated and experienced, her article takes a few of the issues discussed and removes them completely out of context, thus misleading all of us.

For example, SSI (Supplemental Security Income)

Public Law 104-193, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, permits payment of Social Security benefits to noncitizens living in the United States (U.S.) only if they are lawfully present in this country. The law requires that anyone living in the U.S. who applies for Social Security benefits on or after December 1, 1996, must provide evidence that he or she is a U.S. citizen or U.S. national, or an alien lawfully present in the U.S. as determined by the Attorney General.

As you can plainly see, the law regarding eligibility clearly states any person illegally in the US does NOT qualify for SSI benefits. This came directly from the SSI website.

Nice try.

Additionally, SSI has strict qualifications for deciding if a child or adult qualifies for disability benefits. Here they are.

"Social Security’s definition of disability for adults is different from the definition in other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. This is a strict definition of disability."

Disability under Social Security is based on your inability to work because of a medical condition. We consider you disabled if:

You cannot do work you did before and we decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of a medical condition(s).
Your disability must last or be expected to last for at least a year or result in death.

In addition, annual total family income cannot exceed 36K, you cannot have ANY savings accounts, investments such as stocks, bonds, property, or any other asset which can be easily accessed as a cash resource. If you own more than one car, one of them must have a street value of less than $3000.

Now, on to hospital closures. While the influx of people with no insurance has in impact on hospital budgets, it is but a small part of the issue and does constitute the main reason.

Case in point. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). As the parent of a disabled child, we have spent numerous days at this facility getting our daughter the help she needs. She's not yet 5 years old, but has undergone 19 surgical procedures to correct a rare genetic disorder known as Larsens Syndrome. At this time, she is in her second year of preschool and is advanced beyond other children in her class who are in the first grade and is doing well. She will always be in a wheel chair and will always need government assistance to some degree.

The reason I'm telling all of you about my daughter is to help put things in perspective. When she was born, our insurance tried to force us to go to UCLA Medical Center because they did not have CHLA listed as "in network." UCLA is a fine medical center, if you're an adult. CHLA is just about the only facility in America with the experience to handle this condition. They also handle many conditions that no other hospital can offer. In our time there, we've met families from Central and South America, Australia, and even as far away as Egypt.

It is not illegal immigrants doing us a diservice, it is insurance companies more than anything creating this environment. Our insurance allowed us to take our child to CHLA only after we threatened to sue. We did not actually do it, but it points to how far you have to go to get proper help for your kid.

Because our insurance only contracts services with CHLA, compensation to CHLA by insurance is only partial. We estimate the total to the hospital from our daughters surgeries to be about 1 million. Guess how much the insurance actually paid the hospital. How about 25%.

The hospital tries to make it up through one-time patients such as kids with broken arms, but it tends to fall far short of making up the difference.

I can only speak for the facilities I'm familiar with and my own experiences, but I can almost guarantee I'm not alone in this.

Also, our governor of California has taken it upon himself to try and fix our budget problems by borrowing billions at high interest rates, and slashing health services to irresponsible levels.

For example, rolling back IHSS (In Home Supportive Services) to minimum wage. In case you're not familiar with IHSS, it is a program whereby care givers and parents (such as my wife) are paid through the state to provide care for the disabled in a private, home environment. California is the only state doing this.

In order to qualify for IHSS, you must first be receiving SSI. Depending where you live in the state determines what your pay rate is. My wife is budgeted 136 hours twice a month and is paid $9.00/hr. If it wasn't for IHSS working with parents, it would cost taxpayers $60/hr for a nurse to come into our home and do the exact same job.

Cutting this program back to minimum wage will only increase the burden on taxpayers because health workers will be forced to leave the IHSS program, and it will perpetuate the institutionalization of the disabled, which is exponentially more expensive than the current program. Not to mention demeaning to the patient.

These programs are here for not only anyone who is born with disabilities, but anyone who becomes disabled through accidents, or development of a disease.

As far as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985, doesn't everyone have a right to at least basic care? I agree that if hospitals are going to be obligated to care for ER patients whether they can pay for it or not, the government should at least offer some compensation. But placing the blame on patients? How irresponsible.
Does any other country offer this care?

One other question. If 43 million people are unisured (and the number rises every day), but she doesn't know how many illegal aliens are in our country, how can she even suggest they're part of the problem?

For what I have stated above, I can state with absolute certainty, that Dr Cosman is not telling the truth.

This should make us all wonder what else in her article is potentially misleading.

David Eccles

Posted by: deccles on March 14, 2005 11:33 AM

I missed an edit. In my statement regarding the number of hours my wife gets through IHSS, I said 136 hrs twice a month. It is actually 236 hrs once a month. My apologies

David Eccles

Posted by: deccles on March 14, 2005 12:02 PM

He He.

I knew I was forgetting one important point. Welfare eligibility. Here's the law, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Immigrants are eligible for TANF on a limited basis.
The passage of welfare reform brought dramatic changes in services for immigrant families. Current law states that families who entered the country before August 22, 1996 may immediately receive services, while those who entered after this date may only receive services once they’ve been in the United States for five years. In May 2002, the nutrition title in the Farm Bill restored food stamp benefits for all immigrant children (as of October 2003) no matter what their date of entry to the United States.

There’s one important caveat to the issue of immigrant eligibility for TANF: under current law, the income of an immigrant’s sponsor can be deemed to be the immigrant’s income. Not only does this provision make the radical assumption that a sponsor’s income is accessible to the immigrant, it also effectively boosts the income of many immigrants, thereby making them ineligible for TANF.

Posted by: deccles on March 14, 2005 12:32 PM

SHEESH!!! I realy need to work on my editing skills.

Now, on to hospital closures. While the influx of people with no insurance has in impact on hospital budgets, it is but a small part of the issue and does constitute the main reason.

Should read - it is but a small part of the issue and does NOT constitute the main reason.

Posted by: deccles on March 14, 2005 03:21 PM

NICE...immigrants unite!!

Posted by: yo on June 1, 2006 12:45 PM

Here is an expose on the article and the journal it was published in for anyone interested.


Posted by: sajara on June 2, 2006 04:22 PM

Current law states that families who entered the country before August 22, 1996 may immediately receive services, while those who entered after this date may only receive services once they have been in the United States for five years.

Posted by: Joe Volpe on December 1, 2006 04:39 AM

Regardless of SSI coverage, the EMTALA law requires that anyone presenting to an ER receive ALL services within the hospital's capacity regardless of insurance status, immigration status, etc. and you cannot even ASK if someone is a legal resident. So, deccles, I have to say, it IS a big part of the problem. Hospitals are going broke from caring for illegal aliens, and MDs have to provide interpreters free of charge when they see them in followup at the private office.
Any more questions on the cost of healthcare?

Posted by: Grunt in Calif on March 9, 2008 09:17 PM

Also see these other great immigration resources

The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration
The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration

A 28 part detailed report on the negative impacts of illegal immigration.
Immigration Stance
Immigration Stance

Find out how your members of Congress voted on immigration issues.

The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration
Read the free 28 part report The Dark Side of
Illegal Immigration

Includes facts, figures
and statistics.

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