Hospitals May Absorb $26 Million Annually in Care for Undocumented

Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star, July 3, 2011

Hospitals across California absorb roughly $1.25 billion a year in care for illegal immigrants, including about $26 million in Ventura County, according to a state hospital association supporting a national push for more federal funding for uncompensated care.

Eight general care hospitals in Ventura County charge a total of more than $260 million a year on care for uninsured or under-insured patients that isn’t compensated, according to data provided by hospital officials. There are no specific numbers on the portion of uncompensated care spent on illegal immigrants, with hospitals saying they don’t track the population. But California Hospital Association leaders estimate about 10 percent of a hospital’s uncovered costs come from people without legal status in the United States.

“If they don’t have Social Security or photo identification or a Mexican consulate card, if they don’t have any of those, we estimate they are undocumented,” said Jan Emerson-Shea, vice president of external affairs with the California Hospital Association.

She characterized the $1.25 billion calculation for 2010 as imperfect, offering certainty only on what direction the number is headed.

“It absolutely is growing,” she said.

{snip}

Uncompensated care for illegal immigrants is a huge problem because hospitals are forced to pass on the costs, said U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.

“When you see $5 aspirin, it’s not $5 aspirin, it’s not corruption, it’s the hospital trying to take care of the illegal alien who didn’t have insurance,” Rohrabacher said.

He contends the answer isn’t in providing more money for hospitals, but rather in reducing the illegal immigrant population. {snip}

“As long as we’re providing benefits, more and more of them will come to get the benefits. You can’t blame them for that,” he said, then assessing the financial impacts of illegal immigration. “It’s bankrupting our country.”

{snip}

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, thinks the answer is coming up with an immigration reform solution that provides a pathway for undocumented people to become legal residents.

If the White House and Congress come up with a plan for more funding for hospitals, it means taxpayers will be hit, Capps said. But if there’s not more funding, insurance premiums will rise as hospitals try to pass on their uncompensated costs.

“Taxpayers end up paying no matter what,” she said.

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  • Jake

    California is broke and Gov. Jerry Brown and the Dems’ only solution is to raise more taxes on the people of California, which is already just behind New York on the most taxed states. Brown and the Dems are even trying to impose an almost 8% tax on purchases from Amazon. IN ADDITION there are over 35 sanctuary cities in California welcoming illegals to come in for all the goodies, included FREE heathcare.

    Until recently, more than half a million immigrants were entering the United States illegally each year — about 50,000 to 100,000 of them pouring into California, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

    California has a huge welcome sign at the border for illegals and simply raises more taxes to care for them.

    ALSO, it should also be noted that President Obama just issued a fiat overruling Congress. Congress had voted against the Dream Act.

  • Question Diversity

    “If they don’t have Social Security or photo identification or a Mexican consulate card, if they don’t have any of those, we estimate they are undocumented,” said Jan Emerson-Shea, vice president of external affairs with the California Hospital Association.

    I have news for your, Miss Emerson-Shea: If they have only a Mexican consulate card and nothing else, they’re illegal aliens. Ergo this $26m/yr figure is too low b/c they aren’t counting illegals with Matricula Mouse cards.

    I also have news for you: These hospitals won’t “absorb” these costs. They’ll either shut down or ask for higher reimbursement rates for insurance companies. Many hospitals, especially in big cities, even private hospitals, are top and middle heavy with affirmative action minority bureaucrats and “health care” assistants.

  • Anonymous

    Hospitals don’t “absorb” the cost, they engage in “cost shifting” to the insured and the taxpayers.

  • NBJ

    Several months back a friend of my husband who lost his job and insurance and had been out of work for a while began having some medical issues. He was reluctant to go to the emergency room, knowing he couldn’t pay for the services at that time, so he began looking to the state for any kind of help they might be able to give him and this is what he found.

    Since he is single with no children and is not disabled, he was just up the creek without a paddle. HOWEVER, he learned, if you are an ILLEGAL ALIEN living in the state of NC, you can apply for “emergency” medicaid along with a document explaining their rights. There was no such option for HIM.

    You got that folks? ILLEGAL ALIENS have more rights and better medical care in NC than a natural born citizen temporarily down on their luck. Infuriating to say the least.

    Luckily, this young man has since found employment and had his medical issues resolved, but is furious knowing his tax dollars are paying for illegalls to get medical care that the state would not give him. When will this madness END?!

  • Fritz

    It’s high time we started sending the bill to the country of origin and that goes for cost to our prison system as well. Maybe if Mexico had to reimburse this country for the finacial damage it’s citizens do here, we wouldn’t have to worry about building a fence or a wall. Mexico would do it, or else.

  • Anonymous

    “U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, thinks the answer is coming up with an immigration reform solution that provides a pathway for undocumented people to become legal residents.” How is that suppose to solve the problem? Magically, those people will come up with the money once they become “citizens”? With this kind of brain power in people playing as lawmakers, no wonder this country is in such serious trouble.

    There are millions more pushing and shoving wanting to come in. It will NEVER stop until this country firmly says NO MORE. But does it have the will power? Those potential millions of illegals are also watching. Solution, elect people that do have the will power to resist being manipulated by the racism name calling. Those illegals are steadily growing in power and number. Ever watch their parades, they are not asking but demanding that they have rights for just being in this country.

  • Anonymous

    And the idiot left in california wants us to think that that $1.25 billion hospital bill will disappear once all them illegal aliens become citizens.

  • Anonymous

    By “absorb” they mean pass the costs on to Americans.

  • Anonymous

    It should be something like fraud, maybe even RICO’able (if you are doing so organizationally for more than 10 years or crossing State Lines with wire or mail transactions) to charge the insured for a service they _did not receive_ or agree to pay for.

    Remember ‘The Firm’? “For every billable hour which you apply to a case while working on someone else’, the entire company is subject to bookkeeping charges…”

    Of course, the real answer here is even simpler. If there is no taxation with equal representation before the law for ‘privileges’ received or allocated, then you are no longer running your own country.

    And that is what we call a state of revolution.

    How do you fight such a battle in an age of IRS audits and NSA broadband monitoring of every communication system on earth?

    Simple.

    You elect out of the nationwide healthcare system and start standing up local community (I mean neighborhood by neighborhood, run out of strip malls) health care eligible ONLY to those who live in a certain tax codes.

    Zoned areas which you keep friendly and responsible by requiring a contract clause to buy out any seller whose buyer doesn’t meet the credit score/capital means minimums.

    Get your drugs from Mexico or Canada. Share medical machine (X-Ray, MRI etc.) costs over several communities. Buy your doc his house based on his test scores. And contract out to a single ER a given year’s fees in advance on a competitive bid basis.

    We could do ALL of this. If we wanted to break from the national health care system in such a way that we showed we prefered to have nothing of the Federalized Medicine approach over sharing everything, including debt payment for Illegals under Obamacare.

    Congress won’t repeal this. So we must disable it, locally, through State government.

  • Up to my neck in CA.

    Just visit any ER in this once great state, it will be crowded with Mexicans. They go to the ER for everything from a simple cold to GSWs. They know they will get whatever they need and will not have to pay one dime. It’s time the American tax payer stopped being taken advantage of by the deadbeats from South of the border. Make Mexico provide for their own citizens! Our politicans here in CA. don’t care as long as they vote Democrat.

  • HadEnough

    Terry Anderson, the late, great Los Angeles radio host, told a story about taking his elderly mother to an LA hospital and being told that the cost of her medication, which she needed to stay alive, had been raised to $800 a month. Terry and his mother were in tears. Neither one could afford that. “What if she were an illegal alien?” Terry asked. “Oh, that’s different,” the hospital employee replied. “If she were illegal, not only would we give her the medication for free, but we’d FedEx it overnight to her house.”

    Had enough yet?

  • SKIP

    “10 — Up to my neck in CA. wrote at 5:19 PM on July 8:

    NOT only that, but when one of the familia members gets brought to the ER for the usual gunshot or knife wounds, the ENTIRE extended family, and I mean all the way back to the great grandparents come too and WHILE they are there, they start complaining of all sorts of ailments and DEMAND to see the ER staff for all sorts of stuff. They leave with lots of drugs (taxpayer paid for) and leave a huge bill unpaid (taxpayer paid for) Been there and seen it before.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Up to my neck in CA. writes:

    Just visit any ER in this once great state, it will be crowded with Mexicans.

    It’s worse than that as scores of hospitals have closed due to non-paying illegal immigrant overload — AND penniless, uneducated, unskilled illegal colonists continue to pour into California.

    Can you imagine what will happen once 0bamacare goes into effect? Your place in the endless queue to receive your meager share of rationed health care will be BEHIND illegal immigrants!

    Across California, scores of hospitals and emergency rooms have shut their doors in the last decade, leading to long waits, diverted ambulances and, in the most extreme cases, patient deaths.

    A national report card by the American College of Emergency Physicians gave California a failing grade for access to emergency care. The state ranks last in emergency departments per capita, with only seven per 1 million people, compared with the national average of 20.

    The stress on emergency departments is driven by both hospital and emergency room closures and an increasing number of Medi-Cal patients unable to find primary care physicians who will treat them. As a result, many turn to emergency rooms, further compounding the overcrowding.

    Mind your health everyone! There may no hospitals left if you find yourself in need of one, or a 24 hour wait to see a doctor if you do find one that is still open.

    Bon

    Bon