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.
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.