October 6, 2009

When health care is precious, spending a ton to keep undocumented immigrants out

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rita_hibbardweb5Since July 2008, Los Angeles County has spent more than $28 million in state and federal funds to screen for illegal immigrants who obtained health care services from Medi-Cal, the public health care program for low income residents.  So far, they have not found a single person, and fewer than 1 percent of the people screened lack the proper documents,reports Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times. Most of those were eventually able to produce them.

Among new applicants, a handful of cheaters have been snared, about 0.1 percent of the total.

“It’s been a big effort without a whole lot of payback,”  said Deborah Walker, the county’s Medi-Cal program director.

Regardless, $28 million could buy a lot of health care. But supporters of the program say if you don’t monitor that closely, you invite massive cheating.

“The point of this is not to catch people, it’s to deter them and potentially save tons of money,” said Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based research organization that advocates immigration restrictions. “If you don’t have these systems, you might have hundreds of thousands of illegals trying to get health benefits.”

Immigrant advocates disagree. They argue that stricter verification rules, such as those implemented last year in Los Angeles County, have proven costly, ineffective and ultimately harmful to U.S. citizens who may be deprived of healthcare because they lack the required documents.

It’s a difficult issue. Forcing undocumented residents out of the system means forcing them into more expensive care in the emergency room. A report by the Contra Costa Times recently estimated that the state pays more than $1 billion annually to cover the cost of health care when illegal residents seek emergency room care for life-threatening circumstances and for childbirth.

— Rita Hibbard

One thought on “When health care is precious, spending a ton to keep undocumented immigrants out

  1. By now most business are conscious of the federal program E-Verify? It distinguishes US citizens and legal residents from illegal labor. Although not seamless, it has a 99.6 success rate and obviously will overtime become even more constructive to business that believes in the “Rule of Law.” Opponents in both the business sector and even on Capitol Hill have released a torrent of abuse against the application. That includes its function is blind to counterfeit documentation and spurious ID and that even legal individuals can be rejected? SO–YOU GO TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE TO BE EXONERATED? ONLY ILLEGAL WORKERS WILL SHUN TURNING TO SSA FOR RESOLVING THIS ISSUE.

    The open border conspirators are losing, as they did in a federal Maryland court a week previous. As E-Verify are perfected it needs to become a permanent tool in the incomplete arsenal of immigration enforcement. It needs to reach out to every company, big and small, in our country and every individual who works there? E-Verify eventually will expel foreign national from the workplace, without financial appropriations on a large scale. These people will self-deport when they cannot be hired anymore. Businesses facing huge fines and prison will be the ultimate deterrent. In time it will save our ailing schools, health care, home mortgages and government welfare system. Look to NUMBERSUSA for honest an answer, that includes costs to taxpayers for the new blanket AMNESTY. Which Senators and Republicans are anti-US American Worker and their immigration grades?

    For an example Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has a miserable enforcement grade of “C-“. He was out to erase E-Verify, under fund the border fence from the beginning of the Democratic administration. Then JUDICIAL WATCH is a public watchdog group Promoting Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in Government, Politics and the Law. They uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities. Finally CAPSWEB informs the public about the coming nightmare of OVERPOPULATION that is already exhibiting itself in our deteriorating infrastructure. TELL YOUR POLITICIANS YOU HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE AT 202-224-3121