The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Why U.S. Healthcare is So Expensive

Keep in mind that this article deals with Arizona, and also that I'm not a doctor—but last time I went through INOVA Fairfax (our largest local hospital here in Northern Virginia), over 2/3rds of the E.R. waiting room was filled with "foreign nationals" with various non-emergency-looking maladies.

This, of course, is only one reason of many—but it's a rather big one:

PHOENIX (AP) — The federal government has reimbursed Arizona hospitals and doctors $92 million over the past two years to offset unpaid bills for emergency care provided to undocumented immigrants.

Arizona hospital executives say they are grateful for the financial help, but it’s still not enough to offset the bulk of costs associated with providing emergency health care to illegal immigrants.

To make up the shortfall, hospitals say they are forced to raise the costs of basic hospital services for everyone else. [Ed.:—This Means Us.]


Carondelet operates one hospital in Nogales at the U.S.-Mexican border and three in the Tucson area. The Carondelet hospitals provided about $15.5 million worth of care to immigrant patients over the past two years, and the hospital network collected $2.4 million under the program, the company said.

That means less than 16 percent of the hospital group’s undocumented-immigrant-related bills were paid.

Seriously, we've got to start repealing some of our government's more misguided "humanitarian" programs, before they completely bankrupt us all. There is no logical reason in the world to provide subsidized "emergency" care to "undocumented" immigrants—heck, without documentation, how can we even tell if they are poor enough to need such "free" [Ed.:—I.e., paid for by you and me.] services?

(h/t BGHater)

As a side note, let me clarify my above remarks regarding "non-emergency care" as thus: There is no justifiable reason that someone should be provided free "emergency" care for a cough, sniffle, or slight fever—yet our hospitals are forbidden from turning people who show up to the emergency room with such ailments, or at the very least, are afraid to do so due to onerous regulation. We could cut at least $100 million in health costs annually if we were even allowed the basic ability to turn away such abusers of the "emergency" room system. But again, I'm not a doctor—if any of y'all are, I'd love to hear what your take on this issue is.



#1 captainfish 30-Oct-2007
I dont get it.
How do these "non-payers" get treated for free?

I go in to an emergency room and the first thing they want from me is paperwork filled out in triplicate stating how I can pay, how much my salary is, who my insurance is and the names and addresses of 10 relatives of mine who will pay if I can't.

I wouldn't even be allowed through the remaining doors without a means to pay. How is it that people with only headaches, and even people who are unable to speak english, are given care first, allowed to leave, and then taxpayers are billed?

I say, if there is a fever above 101, there is blood flowing, something broken, or the patient is unable to respond coherently then they should be allowed admittance into the hallowed halls of the emergency room. If they are brought in via an ambulance, then their admittance is automatic as the ambulance crew are gatekeepers.

They are better gatekeepers than the triage nurses at the hospital.

No, there is no reason to turn patients away. Just refer them to the main hospital and make an appointment for them. Then have someone walk them over to be seen by a family practitioner. Let that doctor determine the patients severity and ability to pay.
#2 shane hanson 02-Nov-2007
For all the whiners about the rising cost of medical care, here is a challenge for you.

Pick 35 current drugs on the market that have been on the market for more than 10 years, or surgeries that have been available for more than 10 years and find one that has gone up in cost, not down.

I beleive you will find that they have all gone down in cost. The other thing you will find is the cost of malpractice has gone up. Now one of these causes us to pay more.
#3 Brian C. Ledbetter 02-Nov-2007
A very astute observation, Shane! If you have any documentary evidence of what you've listed here, I'd love to see it! You can post URLs by surrounding them with standard BBCode tags [url] and [/url], if you want!

#4 kissey 01-Apr-2009
We all have to look at both point of views. People who can't afford insurance can't get the medical attention they need, so do we leave them to die? Yes that is exactly whats happenening now and no one is trying to help them. Now for those selfsh people who don't care about no one but themselves should relax and think about the things they say.
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