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Old May 10, 2005, 12:00 PM   #1
redhawk41
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U.S. pays for care of illegal aliens

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said yesterday that it would start paying hospitals and doctors for providing emergency care to illegal immigrants.

The money, totaling $1 billion, will be available for services provided from today through September 2008. Congress provided the money as part of the 2003 law that expanded Medicare to cover prescription drugs, but the new payments have nothing to do with the Medicare program.

Members of Congress from border states had sought the money. They said treatment of illegal immigrants imposed a huge financial burden on many hospitals, which are required to provide emergency care to patients who need it, regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay.

Under the new program, hospitals are supposed to ask patients for documents to substantiate payment claims. But Dr. Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said a hospital should not directly ask a patient "if he or she is an undocumented alien."

Instead, he said, hospitals can try to establish a patient's status by analyzing the answers to "indirect questions": Is the person eligible for Medicaid? (If so, payment is generally not available under the new program.) Has the person reported a foreign place of birth? Does the person have a border-crossing card like those issued to Mexican citizens? Does the person have a foreign passport, a foreign driver's license or a foreign identification card?

The Bush administration abandoned a proposal that would have required many hospitals to ask patients if they were U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.

"In no circumstances are hospitals required to ask people about their citizenship status," McClellan said yesterday.

Hospital executives and immigrant rights groups had said such questions would deter illegal immigrants from seeking care and could lead to serious public health problems by increasing the spread of communicable diseases.

Cecilia Munoz, a vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights group, said the new requirements were an improvement over the original proposal but would still discourage some immigrants from seeking treatment.

"Hospitals will have to ask confusing, highly technical questions about immigration documents," Munoz said. "That will create a perception in the Latino community that you have to show your papers in order to get emergency care. That's a misperception, but it may be enough to deter some people from seeking care."

The new program is run by the Department of Health and Human Services. McClellan said the department would not provide information about illegal immigrants to law enforcement officials for use in "routine civil immigration proceedings." But in rare cases, he said, the information may be used in criminal investigations.

The largest allocations this fiscal year are going to California, which will receive $70.8 million; Texas, $46 million; Arizona, $45 million; New York, $12.3 million; Illinois, $10.3 million; Florida, $8.7 million; and New Mexico, $5.1 million.

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Old May 10, 2005, 03:22 PM   #2
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It's about damned time. Border states have had to pay that extra burden for too long. Since the states do not control the Border Patrol, it is not the fault of the border states that these unpaid medical bills exist. It is the fault of the federal government, specifically the Department of Homeland Security now. If all expenses attributable to illegal immigration were paid by the federal government, they might rethink their stance towards how secure the borders should be. Heck, with $70 million bucks extra, Arnold may be able to fully fund more programs that will help educate our youth.
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Old May 10, 2005, 04:16 PM   #3
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I disagree. NO US taxpayer should pay for the "care".

However, I do know of a compromise.

With each "free" visit to the ER, they get a complimentary visit by a federal law officer. And I do not mean some wimpy ass INS agent who won't do anything.
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Old May 10, 2005, 04:51 PM   #4
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And shall we send the bill to Mexico?

Shall we ask for free health care while we visit down there?

No, because they're sucking the life out of the U.S. economy with the enthusiastic help of both of our political parties. U.S. workers should be mad as ****.
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Old May 10, 2005, 04:51 PM   #5
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k dawg, I think if you reread my post, you'll notice we are in complete agreement. I just view it as a wakeup call to the federal government when the bill shows up at their door, not at the states' doors. However, your plan would lead to them not going to the doctor when they are sick, thereby becoming walking bio agents. Stopping them before they get in is the way to handle this. The ones who are already inside the country will have to be rooted out through their employment opportunities. If you will get deported at the hospital, you don't go to the hospital. If you will get deported by going to work, you don't go to work, removing your reason for being here.
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Old May 10, 2005, 04:58 PM   #6
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I've gone to the doctor in Mexico and was quite pleased. It wasn't free but it was darned cheap and he was pretty good.

I've also been to Costa Rica where the physican is free and the care is on a US standard.

I say let the Fed pay the bills and then let the Fed give the Bill to Vicente Fox, payable in Gold.
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Old May 10, 2005, 05:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
I disagree. NO US taxpayer should pay for the "care".
Come on now. Are we saying that we want to live in a country that does not give care to someone in an emergency room? Hospitals do it everyday to the homeless that cannot pay the bills. It isn't right that we have to pay for many costs that illegals incur, but to say a person doesn't have the right to emergency care is ridiculous. BTW, your tax dollars go to the MREs our military routinely gives out to TCNs (third country nationals) during humaitarian ops. It is a step in the right direction that the fed gov't will supplement border states.
If you've ever had to deal with someone needing emergency care, the last thought on your mind is, "is this person a US Citizen."
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Old May 10, 2005, 05:25 PM   #8
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I'm with you Breacher. I don't believe that in any moral or ethical case could be made that emergency care should ever be denied. Even when they only have a cold, we should see them and treat them.

Maybe once the Fed gets the bill, they'll take the problem seriously and begin to bill Mexico.
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Old May 10, 2005, 07:58 PM   #9
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"Maybe once the Fed gets the bill, they'll take the problem seriously and begin to bill Mexico."

Well, that's a start. But first we have to ask ourselves just what those illegals are doing here in the first place. Uh, they are here illegally, folks. Sounds to me like it might be appropriate to see to their immediate medical care due to our basic compassion, but then promptly deport them and bill the appropriate country.
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Old May 10, 2005, 08:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
payable in Gold
LOL, now there's a necessary part of the deal for sure. "What, you want payment? No problem....Let me go print some more"

I agree with Breacher and Kjm. It's basic human decency to give medical care to those in need. Payment is a secondary consideration for me.
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Old May 11, 2005, 09:49 AM   #11
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the problem i see is this:

before the government subsidized emergency health care for illegal immigrants, the care facilities had to pay for it somehow.

they paid for it by increasing health care costs for the paying customers, ie insurance. so emergency care not paid for (homeless, illegal, whatever) is absorbed into insurance costs for those that have insurance.

not only are we paying through increased health care costs (via insurance, of course), but also through increased taxes.
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Old May 11, 2005, 10:12 AM   #12
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Hmmm... if the government has to foot the bill on unpaid hospital bills, the hospital can lower their costs. If hospitals lower their costs, then they will bill insurance companies less. Yet somehow I think the insurance companies won't lower their rates. Which is a shame because one of the biggest problems here in Texas is the cost of health insurance. If our 46 million dollar share goes towards lowering the cost of health insurance in this state, then it will help those who have suffered financially by living in a border state.
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Old May 11, 2005, 10:21 AM   #13
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I think it's doubtful the insurance companies would lower their rates (kindof like the gas companies!) Why would they, the top execs will see the extra money just line their pockets (not like they're greedy or anything!)

Maybe this will finally wake Bush up to the fact that it IS a problem, and one he needs to get off his rear end about (it's still 3 1/2 years away, and the hot topic for the next election is illegal immigration!)
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Old May 11, 2005, 12:33 PM   #14
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I say let the Fed pay the bills and then let the Fed give the Bill to Vicente Fox, payable in Gold.
If this is your recommendation, please provide one solitary example where Mexico has owed the United States money or anything else, and has paid the full amount in a timely manner. The only payment we could squeeze out of Mexico would be indirect by eliminating the aid we provide them. While I have no problem with that, it only amounts to a tiny fraction of the total costs the border states alone provide in health care to illegal aliens. Saying that we should bill Mexico sounds good in theory, but in practice there is nothing to suggest that it would be even remotely effective.
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Old May 11, 2005, 12:44 PM   #15
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First, Mexico has begun paying their water debt, and that made news here in Texas so I am surprised that you didn't know that.

Second, Mexico depends upon the United States as their number one market. Each product they sell here including Dodge Trucks, Tequila, machinery and other items can be tariffed. While Tariffs aren't a wonderful way to go about business, it tends to get a country's attention and is an effective way to get the offending country to come to the table and negotiate a deal.

When Mexican beef, tomatoes, electronics, textiles and other manufacturing takes a hit and hence the patrones who run these industries feel it in their pocketbook, Mexico might feel more like this is also a Mexican problem.

Right now, Mexico suffers no ill effects from the current situation. It doesn't hurt them one iota, and in fact they reap billions. Labor is their number-one export and cash seems to be their number one import. If you are saying that the United States is economically impotent to put a squeeze on Mexico, then I think you and I differ in the size and importance of the US economy and the dependance upon it by Mexico.
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Old May 11, 2005, 02:13 PM   #16
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kjm:

First: I hadn't been back to Tx in a while, I hadn't heard that Mexico had actually started paying off the water debt. It's f'ing about time.

Second: You do have a point about Mexico not paying their bills, hence a tarriff may be the answer. If we can't get them to pay cash up front, make 'em pay with Tarriffs. Of course, the U.S. consumers of Mexican goods will scream as the prices go up, but hey, we are paying anyway by way of taxes. If the taxes go down by that amount, I'd say that it was a good deal. The Mexican government will scream bloody murder, but that's the point, after all -- it gets their attention: "No More Free Ride".
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Old May 11, 2005, 02:15 PM   #17
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I agree, bill Mexico and once they start to feel the burden, I bet the support for immigration will dissipate.
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Old May 11, 2005, 02:48 PM   #18
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You know, I hate the T word because I do believe in free trade, but sometimes, when the trading partner is abusing the system, a Tarriff on their goods can get their attention. Mexico is a basket case in all things trade. If you ever want a copy of software, just go down to Mexico City. You can pick up Auto CAD, Photo shop and other software for under $10.00 a copy on the streets. So if we did slap a tarriff on MX, it isn't like them putting a tarriff on us would hurt as much as them not enforcing intellectual property. That though is another fight all together. I don't think Mexico will ever be a wonderful neighbor, but then, we've known that at least since 1848.


The water debt really yanked my chain too. Unfortunately, though we seem to bet getting paid some of that back, the Mexicans still pollute the Rio Grande so badly that you can't even swim in it anymore. We used to go to Big Bend and take rafting rides through the canyons, and now I wouldn't dare take my kid on one of those boats.

Don't take my positions here to be pro Mexico. I personally cannot stand their government. I only care about our best interests and call it how I see it.
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Old May 11, 2005, 03:03 PM   #19
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First, Mexico has begun paying their water debt, and that made news here in Texas so I am surprised that you didn't know that.
I did know that, and in fact posted that very information in another thread. However as I said in the other thread, Mexico is barely paying more than one quarter of the debt they actually owe and even if they paid the entire thing it would still be over 12 years late in coming. How does that meet the any portion of the full and timely part of my question?

Quote:
If you are saying that the United States is economically impotent to put a squeeze on Mexico, then I think you and I differ in the size and importance of the US economy and the dependance upon it by Mexico.
I am certainly not saying the United States in incapable of recovering its debts. What I am saying is that we can only base future performance based on past actions, and past actions tell us that Mexico will stall at best and default entirely on any charge we try to force on them. Of course we can go through steps to try and force compliance, but that is extremely costly to us and has the potential of spiraling way out of control.

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Right now, Mexico suffers no ill effects from the current situation. It doesn't hurt them one iota, and in fact they reap billions.
I totally agree. I disagree that the proper way, or the most effective way to cause Mexico to suffer “ill effects” of their fostering of illegal immigration is to give them a bill for our services rendered. There are other vastly more simple and effective ways that we can shoulder Mexico with the appropriate burden. The easiest and simplest is to simply send 100% of all the illegal immigrants that cross the U.S.-Mexican border to one specific location in Mexico. At the same time focus an inordinate amount of Border Patrol in that area to minimize as much as possible any re-border crossing. Whether it is a Mexican, Honduran, Russian or any other nationality. If you cross our border with Mexico, you will be sent back to Mexico. By sending 100% of the 1.5 million illegal aliens caught each year to one location, Mexico will be forced to implement their own immigration enforcement and we will be better able to focus on a single area that poses the highest risk of border crossings. That is a virtually zero costs measure that would give Mexico an enormous impetus to control illegal border crossings.
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Old May 11, 2005, 03:05 PM   #20
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Unfortunately, though we seem to bet getting paid some of that back, the Mexicans still pollute the Rio Grande so badly that you can't even swim in it anymore.
I haven’t been to Big Bend in some years but I can personally attest to the quality of the water from Laredo south, it is atrocious. I was given to understand though that around the Del Rio area the river is still a great place to raft and swim in.
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Old May 11, 2005, 03:24 PM   #21
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The easiest and simplest is to simply send 100% of all the illegal immigrants that cross the U.S.-Mexican border to one specific location in Mexico.
That is an effective way to curtail the numbers. My good friend who married the gringo said that for years he was simply deported to his home in Piedras Negras. The very last time he was deported he got sent to Tiajuanna and had to figure out how to get back home then. That caused him to start shopping for an American Bride. Incidentally, he is among the most law-abiding, good-natured people I've worked with in a while.

Your policy would work I believe and create some problems on the Mexican side when Matamoros gets a half-million folks not from there, and Tiajuanna gets another half million.

Still- lucrative jobs here will keep them comming so long as they are available. It isn't that they're being hired solely on price alone. Russian Immigrants come here all the time, and the people I've known who hired them wouldn't ever hire them again. Same with Nigerians. Mexicans have a work ethic that makes them attractive to employers who care more about work getting done than who's doing the work.
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Old May 11, 2005, 03:55 PM   #22
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Your policy would work I believe and create some problems on the Mexican side when Matamoros gets a half-million folks not from there, and Tiajuanna gets another half million.
Try putting the whole million plus in one place and see what sort of problems Mexico develops. Picking a location that allows for the easiest enforcement on our side also gives us a better advantage.
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Still- lucrative jobs here will keep them comming so long as they are available.
I agree, which is why we need far stronger interior enforcement as well as prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens. As an aside, this is something Bush is doing at a far greater level than any of his predecessors.
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Old May 11, 2005, 10:18 PM   #23
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I somewhat agree that penalties here can discourage the behavior in a slight degree, however like the enforcement of drug laws, it seems disproportionately expensive for the benefit it provides. I can't imagine how much it would cost us to hire the agents needed to truly run an effective interior enforcement program and I would fear that like the commission that Jimmy Carter constituted to discuss the war on drugs and make recommendations: Enforcement of the law does more damage to American society than the crime itself.

There has got to be a cheaper, more effective way to solve this problem which is probably why it isn't getting tried. Budgets and power don't grow on cheap government programs and it is hard to build an effective bureaucratic career by cutting costs and increasing productivity.

In almost every case I've seen of government trying to solve a problem, they usually take the most ineffective and expensive route first and after 70 or so years, they see the light and change the law.

Because I've lived in Texas all my life and in the Southern parts a good chunk of that, I've grown accustomed to wets and don't mind them. It's a fact of my life. It has occurred all my life and I haven't seen the violence or mayhem that folks are speaking about here.

Perhaps rather than chase the litter bugs in the deserts and brush country with border patrol agents, we should just turn the EPA and the Sierra Club loose on them, make a few public adds showing poor little raccoons and bunnies choking on their litter, and the poor hapless do-gooders would drive them all out forever.
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Old May 11, 2005, 10:56 PM   #24
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Well, I'm not happy about my tax money being used like that, but I AM happy that it will probably lower the cost of my personal healthcare.

See, the people living in border states have seen their healthcare costs skyrocket in the past few years. I've gotten raises both of the past two years and yet I have taken home less money due to the increase in my healthcare costs. That's because the healthcare industry in this area has simply passed on the cost of providing free healthcare for Northern Mexico to its paying customers.

This shares the problem and as a result, perhaps more people will recognize that it IS a problem.
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Old May 12, 2005, 01:03 AM   #25
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Because I've lived in Texas all my life and in the Southern parts a good chunk of that, I've grown accustomed to wets and don't mind them. It's a fact of my life. It has occurred all my life and I haven't seen the violence or mayhem that folks are speaking about here.
I was born, raised, and continue to live in Texas, and south Texas for much of that as well. My father was before me. The same is true for my grandfather before him. His father before him was also, and his father came to Texas as young boy when Texas and Mexico were having their little squabbles. That has nothing to do with anything. The fact that you either can’t or are unable to see a problem doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Considering that this is an internet message board and really nothing more than a discussion, I’d say I have provided more than enough evidence to support my claims regarding illegal immigrants. All you can point to is rare, personal encounters with an illegal immigrant here or there. Are you really so arrogant as to suggest that based on that you are able to draw an accurate conclusion?
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