Illegal Aliens and American Medicine About half of immigration into the United States is illegal, thus approximately half of the impact of immigration on our health care system is due to illegal immigration. The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences. We judge reality primarily by what we have seen. But what we do not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen.
What is unseen is their free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America's finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies. The General Accounting Office traveled to southern Arizona to study the impact of illegal immigrants on Arizona and other border state hospitals. In 2002, three hospitals located in Cochise County funded more than $1 million in uncompensated health care costs. Between 1993 and 2003, 84 California hospitals closed because half of their services became unpaid... The Florida Hospital Association surveyed 28 hospitals and found that health care for illegal aliens totaled at least $40 million in 2002 (Cosman 2005). The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires every emergency department to treat anyone who enters with an 'emergency'.
Any patient coming to a hospital emergency department requesting 'emergency' care must be screened and treated until ready for discharge, or stabilized for transfer - whether or not insured, 'documented,' or able to pay. Ambulances from Mexico come to American emergency departments with indigents because the drivers know that EMTALA requires accepting patients who come. Government imposes viciously stiff fines and penalties on any physician and any hospital refusing to treat any patient that a zealous prosecutor deems an emergency patient, even though the hospital or physician screened and declared the patient's illness or injury non-emergency. A woman in labor must remain to deliver her child (Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons 2005) American hospitals welcome 'anchor babies.' Illegal alien women come to the hospital in labor and drop their little anchors, each of whom pulls its illegal alien mother, father, and siblings into permanent residency simply by being born here. Anchor babies instantly qualify for public welfare aid. Between 300, 000 and 350, 000 anchor babies annually become citizens because of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.
S. constitution, which states, 'All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside' (Cosman 2005). These articles support a theory that explains the illegal alien problem as part of the general environment in which it is found. They argue that the illegal alien problem is a diverse one and not simply a Mexico-US problem and suggests that traditional immigration law enforcement strategies encourage an ever-increasing illegal alien population in the United States (Weissinger 2003). When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, its purpose was to assure rights of freedom and citizenship to newly emancipated Negro citizens. For citizenship, the person was required to submit to complete, exclusive American jurisdiction, owing allegiance to no other nation.
How do we reclaim America's emergency departments; restore medicine's proud scientific excellence and profitability and protect Americans against bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infectious diseases that illegal aliens carry across the borders? It has been suggested that we close America's borders to prevent illegal entry. Deport illegal aliens. Rescind the citizenship of anchor babies. Overturn the misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
The Constitution grants citizenship to all persons born and naturalized in the United States and "subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Taxpayers have spent hundred of millions on illegal alien patients. As a consequence, the states are facing a crisis of unparalleled magnitude in healthcare. To reduce the cost of quality health care for U. S. citizens we cannot provide it to every illegal alien in the country.
And if the government can turn its back on health care for military veterans, as it announced it would last week, then cutting off aliens shouldn't be too tough. Ethically, we have to look at what need to be done about the situation and how to do it. We have to ask whether it is ethical to refuse medical care to any human being. The issue is not about how to withhold benefits and services to the illegal immigrant, but to enforce the citizenship process.
As stated in the reading, just as we should desire only what is really good for us, so too we should desire the same thing for other people because they are essentially no different from us. In the theological sense, respect for persons reinforces the idea that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore, their many differences notwithstanding, children of God (Ruggiero 1997). Our relationships usually imply our obligations; demands to do something or to avoid doing it. Doctors are obligated to promote or restore the health of their patients.
However, it should be noted that there can be no obligation to do something morally wrong. It is morally wrong that illegal aliens come to another country and reap the benefits of health care and other resources without going through the proper channels of becoming legal as the law requires. Morally and ideally, the issue is not about denying needy services to individuals and families, but about what is right. Obligations of citizenship in a democracy demand concern for the conduct of government and responsible participation in the electoral process (Ruggiero 1997). The burden of health care to illegal aliens has taken an overwhelming toll on the health care dollars in America.
The consequences of America to continue to do so brings harmful effects to all persons involved, including the illegal alien; physically, emotionally, and financially. Surrender to illegal aliens is surrender to collectivist America. Fighting against illegal aliens is fighting for individualistic America. As we fight to reclaim medicine, so we defend our nation. ReferencesCosman, M. P.
(Spring 2005). The Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons. Retrieved June 21, 2005 from web. Ruggiero, V. (1997). Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues.
Sixth Edition. Mayfield Publishing Company. Weissinger, G. (November 2003). Law Enforcement & the INS: A Participant Observation Study of Control Agents. Retrieved June 21, 2005 from web weissinger.
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