Doctors cannot turn illegals away

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The loud arguments about health insurance coverage for illegal/undocumented aliens overlooks important issues. We are dealing with two problems: immigration control and health care.

Our borders do have to be made secure, and illegal aliens must be identified, and then a decision made as to what to do with them -- can they stay or will they be deported?

The second problem is that illegal aliens do get sick, and when they seek health care, usually in an emergency room, they are very sick. They get this way because they do not seek preventive care, or early care for illness. They avoid health-care providers because they are poor (most of them work at minimum wage) and uninsured, and because they fear contact with "the system." They are concerned that physicians will turn them in to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Well, what do we do with these people? They are sick, often critically so. We cannot turn them away. So they are treated, and hospitals and physicians absorb the loss (No, we don't pass the costs on to paying patients. Most of our payments are predetermined by Medicare or HMOs or similar contracts). After discharge, they can't afford to fill prescriptions, and they can't afford follow-up care. So the cycle repeats.

The problem of illegal immigration is a major one, but it is not the same as financing health care for illegal immigrants. Stating that no new health-care financing system will cover these people is just passing the buck. We cannot turn them away to die.

Melvyn L. Haas, M.D., FAAN.

Aiken, S.C.

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WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 09/19/09 - 05:06 am
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The president intends to wave

The president intends to wave his magic hands and make the illegals into "typical" citizens, as he's so fond of saying. Then, the taxpayer won't have to deal with the "illegal immigrant" situation any more. Isn't that brilliant?

concernednative
28
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concernednative 09/19/09 - 06:32 am
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The immigration situation is

The immigration situation is a really tough one. Let's face it they are here and they currently get the hc anyway just in the most expensive way. I don't have the answer I don't think it is fair to offer them hc which would probably encourage even more illegals to come here. But having them bankrupt hospitals in states where they are a large population doesn't make since either. This is a situation where politicians really need to work out a sensible solution.

teharper428
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teharper428 09/19/09 - 07:53 am
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First thing to do is enforce

First thing to do is enforce our existing laws dealing with corporations and businesses who hire illegals. Oh, but we don't want to step on the toes of those companies who love hiring illegals so they can pay them less and know they can't complain about unsafe working conditions.

DonH
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DonH 09/19/09 - 08:07 am
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I believe that Dr Haas needs

I believe that Dr Haas needs to look at another view of the health care/illegal alien situation. Doctors, by their profession, are compassionate individuals. That is the way they view the health care situation. However, there is another, more comprehensive, view. I agree that doctors should not turn away a patient in need. However, doctors need to obey the laws of the land as well. Helping a person in need who is residing within our country illegally is the humanitarian thing to do. Providing medical care, knowing that they are too poor to pay for medical services, is also commendable. Providing a poor patient with free drug samples for their condition is outstanding. But then there is the moral obligation to obey the laws of the land, too. When a doctor treats a patient that is a criminal, that doctor should report that individual to the proper authorities. Illegal aliens are criminals. All citizens should be reporting illegal aliens to the authorities so that the illegals may be returned to their own habitat, their country of origin. If we can do that for the deers, bears, and other animals that wonder out of their habitat. We should do the same for illegal aliens.

FaceTheMusic
0
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FaceTheMusic 09/19/09 - 08:17 am
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Let's say there is a little

Let's say there is a little 7-year old illegal girl with tuberculosis, sitting beside your child in school. Do you want her to get treatment, or just continue to go to school with your child without getting treatment? Be very careful in painting the world in all black and white terms.

DonH
13
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DonH 09/19/09 - 08:37 am
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That question is not

That question is not difficult. Isolation first, and a private tutor or other educational means is the answer to your question.

belle
307
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belle 09/19/09 - 09:06 am
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Honestly, if we make it less
Unpublished

Honestly, if we make it less "comfortable" for illegal aliens to cross our borders it will tremendously slow down the influx. So, treat 'em and send 'em home and arrest them when they are crossing over.

DonH
13
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DonH 09/19/09 - 09:16 am
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As an after thought, if an

As an after thought, if an illegal alien is found to have a highly contagious or critically chronic disease, our government should be getting involved. Rather than placing the illegal on the next transport out, I see nothing wrong with our government contacting the illegal's home country for payment of services and keep the illegal here where better care may be provided. Of course, no payment means deportation for the illegal. The patient broke our laws to be here, and, rightfully, should be receiving their medical care in their own country. Let illegals pay for their own health care. All we are required to provide is emergency care for illegal aliens.

DonH
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DonH 09/19/09 - 09:23 am
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Here is a link to what is

Here is a link to what is happening in other parts of the country concerning health care. This one is from a Tampa, Florida news paper. Note the paragraph about the illegal alien who was treated for 228 days and then flown back to his country of origin. The flight was paid by the hospital in order to cut costs!
http://www.sptimes.com/News/040900/TampaBay/Why_Tampa_General_is_.shtml

teharper428
2
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teharper428 09/19/09 - 09:40 am
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Disease knows no borders,

Disease knows no borders, doesn't ask if we have health insurance coverage or are you an American citizen. My point is that if untreated an infectious disease could spread to a large portion of society. Leaving out that it's a moral issue, it is in the interest of all Americans to make sure any person has access to medical care.

willienelson
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willienelson 09/19/09 - 09:48 am
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Don H what is the address of

Don H what is the address of the fantasy world you live in???

DonH
13
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DonH 09/19/09 - 09:49 am
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Emergency care covers

Emergency care covers infectious diseases. Therefore, illegal aliens and anyone else can get treatment at hospital emergency centers for infectious diseases. We don't need to wait until our Congress comes up with a health care plan. There is a program already in existence.

CobaltGeorge
159439
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CobaltGeorge 09/19/09 - 09:49 am
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DonH - I agree with you 100%

DonH - I agree with you 100% except, you know that their country will never pay the bill. We the tax payers will be stuck with it. Your sited video shows that in detail. I may be hard core but Illegal is Illegal. Lets not support them in any way. Life or Death. I can't find the video captured by a hidden camera that I just saw showing over 400 Illegals just walking over the line in just 2 weeks. It sure demonstrated how fast you hard earned dollar was leaving you wallet.

DonH
13
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DonH 09/19/09 - 10:03 am
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I don't want to get off

I don't want to get off topic, but if you really want to find out directly about the effect of illegal immigration on available health care, take a look at the city newspapers of the Mexican border states, i.e. Tucson, AZ. And don't think a hospital closure would not happen here, as we keep looking the other way when we encounter local illegals. The most humane thing we can do for illegal aliens is patch them up and send them home. What a relief for the illegal! No more living in the shadows, worrying about health care and deportation, and breaking our laws by not conforming to immigration statutes.

AWyld1
3
Points
AWyld1 09/19/09 - 10:14 am
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This healthcare bill will

This healthcare bill will start out to be a "no illegals" get care bill. Then (just like with congress' payraise votes that they get automatically even if they vote against it) it will wind up being a everyone gets care no matter who you are. It will be something as simple as a don't ask don't tell policy where medical staff will not be allowed to ask a patients residential status. I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar.

avidreader
3232
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avidreader 09/19/09 - 10:24 am
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Such a short editorial; so

Such a short editorial; so to-the-point and not politically motivated. Finally, someone that makes sense. Doctors are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The only way the medical community will be able to avoid "absorbing" the costs of undocumented aliens is if there are none to absorb.

1941
4
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1941 09/19/09 - 10:25 am
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The illegals are here because

The illegals are here because companies hire them!! The work that they do, blacks no longer do, and white people never did do!! So stop complaining about them beign here, unless you are ready to go in the fields, kitchens, cleaning hotel rooms, and all the back breaking work,that they do.And so what if they send thier hard earned money back to thier families, that is more than most of you do for your, own families.Live and let live.The illegals, have been coming across the border for years, and know you want to B---h now!! You people complain about everythig!!Get a life, and stay out of others!!!

MyOpinion2
5
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MyOpinion2 09/19/09 - 10:28 am
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I have an idea, since the

I have an idea, since the illegals are legal Mexicans, why not give em care, but also send/give the bill to the Mexican government. They send their paychecks home, lets send their bills home to Mexico, too!

mad_max
0
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mad_max 09/19/09 - 10:45 am
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The answer is to secure the

The answer is to secure the borders and control the temporary workers coming in. Make sure they have papers, are going to a guaranteed job, pay taxes and medicare, and have a mandatory insurance "pool" that they all pay into by payroll deduction. Prosecute ALL employers that are caught hiring people without papers and not taking out taxes and insurance.

DonH
13
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DonH 09/19/09 - 10:50 am
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1941. No one B--h before, but

1941. No one B--h before, but they are B--h now about illegals. Why now? When the good times rolled, no one really cared. We had plenty of jobs to go around. Now, it's very different. The country is in an economic donut situation. Our infrastructure is in a shambles. Citizens need every job they can get. We really do not NEED illegal labor. There are plenty of citizens who are willing to any job if they are paid a living wage. And, the past practice of looking the other way, live and let live, is part of the reason we are in the present economic situation. You just keep looking the other way while the rest of us reclaim our country.

shivas
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shivas 09/19/09 - 11:50 am
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Doc Haas, your ethics are

Doc Haas, your ethics are questioanble. You can't make decisions on treatment based upon immigration status, and you shouldn't even have an opinion on it. As a physician your ethics should only concern doing ehat is right for the individual regardless of immigration or legal status. Maybe your new to the profession.

jack
10
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jack 09/19/09 - 12:06 pm
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Concernednative, the answer

Concernednative, the answer is to 1. close our borders, and 2., illegals showing up at ERs get treated then turned over to INS for deportation as soon as healthy enough. The leter writer is wrong because those who can not pay for ER services, legal or illegal, have those costs passed on to tax payers and those of us who have health insurance or cash for treatment. Why does the writer think an over the counter pain pill costs $10.00?

mgroothand
5
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mgroothand 09/19/09 - 12:09 pm
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Immigration laws today are

Immigration laws today are much more lenient then when I immigrated here some 45 years ago. Then I was told by the American embassy that I must speak and write English, have a good education and a pre-arranged profession to go to. When I gave proof that I had complied with these conditions, the embassy's personnel checked me out thoroughly for political leanings. Then, in order to become a citizen, I had to study hard to learn American history and social sciences. I started paying taxes and social security within a week after arriving here and registered for the draft. Today that is all quite different, but to the detriment of America.

jack
10
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jack 09/19/09 - 12:11 pm
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1941, we should ALL be

1941, we should ALL be complaining about illegals being here. I don't care how many come here to work LEGALLY but are made to return to their home country when their work/job is done..

Just My Opinion
5639
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Just My Opinion 09/19/09 - 12:20 pm
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This may not sound like it's

This may not sound like it's "on topic" but it is. If we wade through the obvious problems with illegality and with moral right, we have the problem of MONEY, right? Money is needed to pay for these people to be treated, and that source of money is from the taxpayers. This is just another reason for us to abolish the existing standard system of taxation and adopt the "Fair Tax", or whatever people want to call it. Make EVERYONE pay taxes on consumer goods, and that includes the illegal immigrants. It really is simple.

afadel
494
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afadel 09/19/09 - 02:04 pm
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Jack, 12:06-If the government

Jack, 12:06-If the government requires health personnel to turn over illegal aliens to INS or if healthcare workers do so on their own, then illegal aliens will simply avoid treatment, which is unacceptable because it's incompatible with our value for human life and dangerous for public health. Furthermore, how is a healthcare worker supposed to know if someone is an illegal resident? We already know that ICE raids are rounding up legal residents and citizens along with illegal aliens. I believe that this process will harm healthcare in emergency rooms of every person with an accent or a non-anglo name, regardless of their legal status. Let us leave immigration enforcement to the INS and not burden healthcare workers with enforcing immigration laws.

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 09/19/09 - 02:12 pm
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mgroothand, the situation of

mgroothand, the situation of your 12:09 post didn't take into consideration "buying the vote" like immigration does today. One of our major parties doesn't feel the law or the foundation of our country is nearly as important as the vote.

DEVGRU
0
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DEVGRU 09/19/09 - 02:44 pm
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Shivas, her comments do not

Shivas, her comments do not question her ethics. Are you having audio hallucinations or are you just drunk?

DonH
13
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DonH 09/19/09 - 02:56 pm
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Afadel- Illegal aliens need

Afadel- Illegal aliens need to realize that they cannot survive illegally in the U.S. Having valid ID for emergency health care services is a requirement. Hospitals still require your personal information before services are rendered (for walk-ins). Don't have valid ID, then expect delays in service and a call to the Border Patrol. A simple, but effective, deterrent would be to have a prominent, life-sized cutout of a Border Patrol agent at every hospital emergency room entrance to keep the illegals thinking more often about going home voluntarily.

belle
307
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belle 09/19/09 - 02:58 pm
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1941, just because some
Unpublished

1941, just because some employers choose to break the law does not make the law void. It is illegal to hire illegal immigrants. Period. I welcome all immigrants who follow the proper process for gaining employment and citizenship in our country.

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