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National Hispanic Medical Association Says Health Care Status Quo For Aliens Is A "Disgrace"! We Reply: You Bet It Is!
You would think that after more than a quarter of a decade as an immigration reform patriot I would be immune to the nonsense sputtered by the other side to defend their indefensible position of wanting more—and more, more, more—for illegal aliens.
Alas and to the detriment of my blood pressure count, I remain susceptible.
I used the adjectives "immune" and "susceptible" specifically because they set the medical tone that I'm seeking to introduce my column about the swirling and increasingly desperate arguments made by illegal immigration advocates who want aliens covered under Obamacare.
What knocked my socks off this week is the following quote from Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association:
"We can't have the status quo. It's just a disgrace." [Does Joe Wilson Have a Case on Health Care, Illegal Aliens, by Delcan McCullagh, CBS News, September 10, 2009]
To put Rios' comment in perspective, let's learn about the NHMA and then more about her.
First, according to its website, the NHMA was established in 1994 and is a non-profit association representing 36,000 licensed Hispanic physicians practicing in the United States.
The organization's stated mission is to improve Hispanics' and other underserved populations.
But even applying the most liberal definition of "underserved," can the most tireless alien supporter claim that the U.S. illegal immigrant population is neglected regarding healthcare or, for that matter, in any other way?
Obviously, the answer to my question is yes, they can.
The most outspoken among their advocates is Rios, a M.D. who also holds a Master of Science in Public Health.
In 1977, Rios earned her BA in Human Biology/Public Administration at Stanford University; in 1980, her MSPH at the University of California School of Public Health and in 1987 her MD at the UCLA School of Medicine.
Then, in 1990, Rios completed her Internal Medicine residency at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and at the White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles. Finally, in 1992, Rios received the National Research Fellowship Award for family medicine.
What jumped off the page at me is that Rios, who vehemently opposes the "status quo" as it pertains to illegal immigrants, graduated from the UCLA School of Medicine.
And at the same UCLA Medical Center a case involving one of the best examples of the true "status quo" for illegal immigrants plays out painfully.
"Ana Puente was an infant with a liver disorder when her aunt brought her illegally to the U.S. to seek medical care. She underwent two liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center as a child in 1989 and a third in 1998, each paid for by the state.
"But when Puente turned 21 last June, she aged out of her state-funded health insurance and was unable to continue treatment at UCLA.
"This year, her liver began failing again and she was hospitalized at County-USC Medical Center. In her Medi-Cal application, a USC doctor wrote, 'Her current clinical course is irreversible, progressive and will lead to death without another liver transplant.'" [Immigration Debate Hits Home for Liver Transplant Patients, by Ana Gorman, Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2008]
When Medi-Cal denied Puente's request for a fourth liver transplant, she continued undeterred by using a little-known option for patients with critical healthcare needs.
Puente notified U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that she is in the country illegally and, by announcing her alien status, Med-Cal restored her benefits. Puente, still receiving UCLA Medical Center treatment, currently awaits her fourth transplant.
The ingrate Puente ("It doesn't matter if I'm undocumented. They should take care of me for the rest of my life because I've been there since I was a baby.") and her case got widespread Internet attention. And in a rare departure from form, the Main Stream Media reprinted the original Los Angeles Times story in dozens of daily newspapers.
Given the national coverage that Puente UCLA's transplants received, I'm sure that it did not escape alumnus Rios' attention.
Another U.C.L.A Medical Center "status quo" liver transplant involved criminal aliens that Rios likely includes in her definition of the "underserved"
In his letter to VDARE.COM, California intensive care unit nurse Bob Cobb reminded us that in May 2008 the UCLA Medical Center provided taxpayer funded liver transplants for four Japanese criminal kingpins.
Again, Rios' alma mater's intervention to save the fugitives' lives must have made her proud.
If I wanted to belabor my point about how foolish Rios sounds when she decries the "status quo," I'd refer you to another Gorman story that detailed the thousands of Mexican aliens who received dialysis treatments.
"In California, illegal immigrants account for about 1,350 of the 61,000 people on dialysis. Their treatment cost taxpayers $51 million last year. But dialysis stands out because it is often a lifetime commitment. The investment (in each patient) can easily top $1 million over time." [States Find Dialysis Treatments for Illegal Aliens a Costly Dilemma, by Ana Gorman, Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2008]
To liver transplants and dialysis treatments that aliens routinely obtain at one of the world's best hospitals without paying a single cent we should add—in case Rios has forgotten—California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program that, according to figures included in Colorado Ph.D. reader Gil Fraser's letter, is tapped by more than 10,000 Mexican aliens at an annual cost of $15,000 per patient.
What it all boils down to is that the "status quo" health care for aliens is a never ending bonanza of freebees all the way around. If you're an uninsured illegal immigrant, your coverage includes everything from sniffles to liver transplants.
If you are, however a mere American citizen who can't afford health insurance, too bad. Through your taxes, you will still pay well into the future for the medical tabs illegal aliens run up.
Rios knows this as well as you and I do.
From the perspective of the amnesty promoters, their entire agenda is falling apart. Not only is it improbable that aliens will get coverage under Obamacare, it's possible that the bill won't pass in any form.
Amnesty is now a distant dream for the alien lobby. In no way, shape or form no matter what ultimately becomes of Obamacare will Congress take up an amnesty fight in what remains of this year or next.
Don't forget: 2010 is an election year and campaigning will begin during the next Congressional recess. If you thought Town Hall meetings on Obamacare were heated, imagine the citizens' ire if amnesty were the subject.
By the way, whatever happened to Senator Chuck Schumer's promise to introduce a "comprehensive immigration reform bill" by Labor Day? [Schumer Says Reform by Labor Day, by Frank Sharry, Huffington Post, July 14, 2009]
"I think we'll have a good bill by Labor Day. I think the fundamental building blocks are in place to do comprehensive immigration reform."
If the Democrats want to go straight down the rat hole in November, 2010 then I invite them to start talking about "the fundamental building blocks" for amnesty.
At the nine month mark of his presidency, Obama is in more trouble than he ever could have envisioned: He hasn't delivered jobs, he can't sell his health care bill, his ratings have fallen, his ties to ACORN have been further exposed and every update about the federal deficit under his management announces that the U.S. is trillions greater in debt than previously projected.
But Obama is way too calculating a politician (a lowly Illinois State Senator five years ago who parlayed his minimal credentials into the U.S. presidency) to be done in by an idea as unpopular as amnesty for illegal aliens.
Obamacare (with or without illegals) is quite enough to be going on with.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.