Like many California residents, I have mixed feelings about the influx of Mexican immigrants who are here illegally. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but Governor Schwarzenegger's recent proposal to insure all children in our state regardless of their immigration status struck a nerve with me as a medical professional (there's a great debate about it on YouTube). I think it's a very good idea, since even though the parents of children brought here illegally should bear the responsibility for their care, the reality is they are too busy trying to survive and make a living to think that far ahead. From a medical perspective, it's the children who sometimes get caught in the middle. Actually, I was impressed by an article I read from the Washington Times in the Minutemen Civil Defense Forum that tells of a hospital in Dallas, Texas, that has suggested billing Mexico for the treatment it gives illegal aliens: "Last year, hospital officials said, Dallas County spent $76.
5 million to treat people from outside Dallas. Of that, almost $27 million was not reimbursed. Much of the cost was for treating patients from adjoining counties in Texas, which Dallas County officials claim is unfair to local taxpayers. Collin County, just north of here and one of the state's richest counties, owed the most of any single entity, Parkland officials said -- about $7.
6 million. County Judge Margaret Keliher said she was not hopeful that other counties -- or countries -- would pay up. But, she said, the county commission thought the matter should be made public and bills sent. 'If you're not Dallas County residents, we think where you are from should pay for your indigent health care,' Judge Keliher said.
" I think the Judge is right about the practicality of trying to resolve this locally, but what if there was a national policy that provided universal healthcare for illegal immigrants at a billable rate for their country of origin? This solution would help deal with two problems: 1. The growing healthcare crisis for those here illegally, both in terms of actual treatment, and the rising cost to the U.S.
taxpayer who foots the bill. As an office manager, I am acutely aware of the delicate balance involved with trying to maximize both patient well-being and the bottom line. The two needn't be incompatible. 2.
It would force a country like Mexico to create an economic policy to deal with a problem they seem unwilling to solve. Perhaps if there was an actual price tag to every citizen they allowed to come into our country illegally, they might work more in concert with our government to stem the tide. Again, I'm not saying this will completely address the immigration dilemma in this country, but I think it's a humane and worthwhile start.
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