Much of California’s medical care system totters precariously on the edge of a financial cliff, and the fault of this frightening reality is – to a large extent – not of their making. The tsunami wave of illegal aliens across the Southern border over the past 25 years is the major contributing factor.
When is the last time you heard the news media mention that?
As countless hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans descend upon our ERs – with absolutely no way to pay for their care – hospital administrations are forced to deal with the sobering fact that they will never be able to recover the cost of the services they provide.
Which, to a very large extent, explains why a jaw-dropping 85 hospitals and/or emergency rooms in California have closed their doors since 1990.
Don’t hold your breath for that news flash, either.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 12,000,000 illegal aliens in the country. Other agencies list the number lower, at 10,000,000, or higher, at 20,000,000. One fact they all agree on: at least 30% of the uninvited have taken up sanctuary in the state of California.
In a bizarre twist that has all the hallmarks of an episode of the Twilight Zone, Paramedics and other medical professionals are legally forbidden to determine if patients are legal residents. So it is almost impossible to bill them. Because of this insanity, the exact number of illegal aliens treated by EMS, hospitals and walk-in clinics can only be estimated.
So if you don’t know how many are being treated, you have no accurate way to determine how much non-citizens are costing.
What is not in dispute, however, is that public hospitals up and down the west coast provide more than 50% of all outpatient treatment for the uninsured, and at least 75% of care that involves overnight stays. Collectively, they have shouldered the enormous burden of treating uninsured illegal aliens for decades, resulting in a situation both grave and often unsustainable.
As medical costs have continued to rise, revenues continue to fall, to the point where hospitals alone suffer estimated losses of $1,500,000,000 a year. Ultimately, economic reality means hospital closures, which eliminates critical care in communities large and small.
So 84 hospitals have already closed, and more are considering closure.
Another exasperating factor in the crisis is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) which mandates that patients cannot be turned away by EMS teams or from any emergency room. EMTALA laws simply ignore the costs hospitals and ambulance companies must absorb, making it an unfunded – and therefore untenable – regulation.
Another rarely-discussed fact is that illegal immigration exposes American citizens – and caregivers – to diseases which were largely eliminated in this country years ago, but are endemic in immigrants’ countries, such as drug resistant tuberculosis, malaria and leprosy. Paramedics and ER staff are now forced to receive an unending litany of prophylactic inoculations. And these shots come with their own risks.
Beyond the knee-jerk reaction by unthinking protesters, the fact is, there is nothing either anti-immigrant, or racist, about a nation insisting upon controlled, well-managed immigration. No successful society has ever allowed unfettered access by millions.
Out-of-control migration creates overpopulation in burgeoning cities, and many of these people are physically – or mentally – unwell. The non-stop influx of people not being physically examined before entry for contagious diseases, mental or emotional incapacities to function in a civil society, will without question expose Americans to unknown health risks. So from the healthcare perspective alone, the need to enforce immigration law is so obvious that any argument is mindless.
One dire outcome seems unavoidable: if nothing is done to reverse mass migration into a finite society, public healthcare may well become the next American institution to disappear.
Kind of like the public phone booth.
The impossible nirvana of any single nation absorbing the world’s indigents, will injure the low-income and then middle-income citizenry first. Routine and even emergent care will become a luxury available for those with plenty of money, or excellent insurance.
So the medical formula for the near future? It just might become stunningly simple:
Allowing everyone who wants to cross our borders to do so? Only the wealthy will be healthy.