Illegal Immigration Healthcare
Costs Affect YOU!
By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.
June 01, 2010
The national spotlight is on Arizona for doing what the Federal
government and previous Governor Napolitano refused to do: rein
in an invasion of illegal aliens bankrupting our state (Arizona).
At an August 2009 healthcare Town Hall in Phoenix, legislators
said that more than half of Arizona's 4 billion dollar
budget deficit was the result of paying for three areas of services
to illegal immigrants: education, healthcare, and incarceration.
What does illegal immigration have to do with your costs
and your access to medical care when you need it?
Estimates are that 20-40% of uncompensated ("free")
medical services are provided to people in the US illegally.
The actual number may be much higher. Shockingly,
hospitals and clinics don't ask about citizenshipa medical version
of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
In both Tucson and Dallas where I have practiced medicine, hospitals
are struggling under massive costs of uncompensated medical
services for uninsured people who, by federal law, cannot be
turned away for lack of insurance or ability to pay.
How much does this uncompensated care actually cost taxpayers?
The incredible answer: no one knows.
We only have "estimates" of the costs to taxpayers
to treat illegal immigrants because hospitals and public health
clinics do not ask for proof of citizenship before providing
What are consequences to taxpaying citizens?
1. Increased cost and reduced access to trauma care.
Tucson has lost all but one Level I Trauma Center to serve all
of southern Arizona, in large part due to massive, unsustainable
losses from uncompensated care. Auto accidents involving overloaded
vans of illegal aliens happen regularly in southern Arizona.
Injured are flown by air ambulance to University Medical Center's
Trauma Center and treated with state of the art care.all at
2. A registered nurse involved with the Pima County health
system since the 1970's who must remain anonymous because of
her role, said she has never seen any staff member at
either El Rio Clinic or Pima County Health Department ask for
proof of citizenship before providing free medical services (immunizations,
Well Baby checks, food stamps, WIC services, birth control, and
even elective abortions). Costs are paid by taxpayers. When
funds are depleted, low income American citizens have fewer services
and longer waits as a result.
3. This same RN also said: "I personally know Mexican
men who married 16 year old girls, got them pregnant, brought
them to Tucson for the baby to become a US citizen. They live
in Mexico but come here for their health care. Taxpayers
pay for this medical care many ways, at the Public Health Department,
and with school nurses who provide care."
4. Uncompensated medical services for illegal immigrants mean
higher premiums for all of us due to cost shifting among all
third party payers. To cover the deficits from "free"
medical services they provide, the administration at University
Physicians Health System Kino campus is analyzing how much to
increase employee health insurance premiums as of July
5. Obamacare cuts benefits to American citizens: $500 billion
in Medicare cuts and slashing the Medicare Advantage program.
Medicare Advantage, chosen by one in five seniors, is the most
popular plan for low and moderate income seniors, and covers
about half of our Hispanic or African-American elderly. My patients
on Medicare have worked and paid into the system over their working
careers, yet these cuts mean less health-care available to them
now. We certainly cannot afford to cover those here illegally.
6. Hospitals in Tucson and Dallas also provide uncompensated
("free") maternity services to pregnant women here
illegally. Their babies then become US citizens entitled to
all of the services available for low income American families
food stamps, WIC, immunizations, office visits, medications,
etc. This drives up costs to all of us: higher premiums for private
insurance companies, and higher taxes for government insurance
like Arizona's Medicaid (AHCCCS).
7. Professional estimates are that over half of the
pregnant women served at Parkland Hospital in Dallas are in this
country illegally. With over 16,000 deliveries a year, Parkland
is one of the nation's busiest maternity services with prenatal
clinics for low income women to receive free prenatal care, nutrition,
medication, birthing classes, child care classes, and free supplies
(formula, diapers, bottles, car seats). Taxpayers pay the bills.
How many of these women are legal citizens and how many are not?
No one knows. No one asks about citizenship.
It is significant that the 4 states with the highest number of
uninsured patients are the southern Border States that
also have the highest burden of illegal immigrants: California,
Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The bottom line is that working, taxpaying, legal citizens are
bearing the brunt of the failure of our government officials
to document citizenship before providing medical services.
How long before your medical care is delayed or denied because
our health systems have collapsed from deficits due to uncompensated
Arizona's massive deficits, greatly increased by healthcare services
for illegals, is the canary in the mine, warning of a potential
explosion that may collapse the system for all.
It's straight out of the Cloward-Piven playbook: destroy the
system by overwhelming it. Your state and your healthcare
may be next.
Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.
About: Elizabeth Lee Vliet,
M.D. is a women's health specialist who received her M.D. degree
and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical
School, then completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins School
of Medicine. She received B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from The College
of William and Mary in Virginia. Dr. Vliet is the 2007 recipient
of The Voice of Women award from the Arizona Foundation for Women
in recognition of her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked
hormone connections in women's health. Dr. Vliet's books include:
It's My Ovaries, Stupid!; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal
Connections Women Suspect-- And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women,
Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman's Guide to PCOS.Dr. Vliet
is a seasoned expert commentator and a passionate fighter against
government takeover of health care in the proposed Health Care
"Reform" that seeks to eliminate or penalize private
options. Dr. Vliet's educational medical website is www.herplace.com
. Doctor Vliet has been speaking to the healthcare reform issue
on many National TV and Cable Networks, including Stuart Varney,
Neil Cavuto, Fox Friends, as well as, many major syndicated
Received June 01, 2010 - Published
June 01, 2010
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