Our country may have lost its AAA credit rating and is heading quickly down the ditch of fiscal bankruptcy, but it seems like we can't help but keep offering free health care for everybody, even if they're not entitled to live here. Despite annual $1 trillion federal budget deficits (think about that number: $1 TRILLION or $1,000,000,000,000), our generous American hearts can't resist giving more free medicine to anybody who wants it or else get castigated as a scrooge.
The New York Times has an update on the plight of ILLEGAL immigrants who were denied free dialysis services at Grady Memorial in Atlanta. This has been an issue for over a year as funding to dialyse these aliens have become harder to come by. This latest lapse in funding caused the withdrawal of dialysis services on August 31. Since then the illegal patients have shown up in the emergency room to get their dialysis with full knowledge that the ER cannot turn anybody away.
One illegal immigrant named Reina Andrade lost hope of future dialysis services and flew home to her native Honduras. There the family had to use their own money to continue her treatments. Only after she had left the country was an agreement reached whereby the hospital will continue paying for dialysis for illegal immigrants. The family says they regret Reina had left the country with little hope of her ability to come back here, illegally.
Excuse me? These people are here in our country without permission yet they have the gall to demand sympathy for their difficult medical conditions? Grady Memorial pays a dialysis service company $15,500 per patient per year for the treatments. The hospital is facing a $20 million budget deficit this year. Medicare is facing bankruptcy within ten years. In essence the governments of other countries are dumping their sick so that they don't have to take care of their own citizens knowing that we won't turn them away.
Ideas for saving Medicare mostly involve cutting back payments to doctors and hospitals, but not the services they are required to provide by law. Sympathetic articles like this one from the NYT attempts to frame the fiscal crises as the poor suffering patients vs. the rich heartless medical industry. How can we ever rationally discuss saving America's healthcare system when every dollar saved is instantly categorized as another attempt to kill off the sick and elderly while medical providers are always seen as greedy and uncaring? While we are fighting to find money for free healthcare for anybody who walks into the emergency room, hospitals are closing around the country because of the reimbursement cutbacks, threatening access to everybody. Whose side are we on? Money for illegals or access for all? The clock is ticking on deciding this issue.