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article imageIllegal Aliens from Mexico tax kidney dialysis treatment in Vegas

By Jay David Murphy     Aug 18, 2009 in Health
With the health care scare going on nation wide, it is a real issue in Las Vegas with illegal immigrants from Mexico lining up in the UMC emergency room for free kidney dialysis at tax payer expense and outrage.
Illegal immigrants from Mexico who need kidney dialysis are putting a 20 million dollar stress on UMC (University Medical Center) in Las Vegas. In the midst of health care reform the bright lights of Vegas are shinning on this issue which as got tax payers in an uproar.
The illegal’s are pressing the emergency room doctors to treat them and are waiting until it they are in critical condition to pay a visit. Doctors are forced by a 1986 law; The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, to treat anyone who doctors deem are in serious life threatening peril.
But this is almost three times more expensive than regular doctor care for kidney patients needing dialysis, costing as much as 18,000 dollars per visit.
This issue in Las Vegas was brought to focus by an article in the Review Journal which covered the story with insights from illegals. Since Sunday’s run, 100’s of comments have been left on their web site with enraged citizens.
Monday Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak weighed into the fray after the article was published. He spoke with members of the media and that's when Digital Journal was able to get a few quotes.
Sisolak gave a solution of sorts, “The best thing we can do is work with the Mexican consulate, and we need to come up with a plan that will work. These are people who obviously need health care, but we are stretched beyond belief.”
But this unfortunately is only the tip of illegal emergency medical iceberg which flows on the US Mexico border up to Las Vegas’ only public hospital.
It has also been just in the last year that word as got around to the illegal population in Las Vegas that if they wait until they are critical that UMC Emergency services will take care of them, now treating 80 such people, up from just a hand full last year.
In Arizona and Florida, officials there send those illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin for treatment, most of the time against their will. Something that is opposed by Mexican Consul Mariano Leuma Gas, who says that many of his countries states are so poor that they do not even have dialysis available, and those that do, are overrun.
There are two federal laws that are in play and one seems to be in use, caring for the sick and the other, deporting illegal aliens is not, at least in Nevada.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also got into the middle of this dilemma.
Through a spokesperson, he has promised to work on more funding for the indigent and immigration reforms.
Representative Dean Heller of Nevada issued this statement, "This is one of the many areas that have not been addressed in the course of the current health care debate. I do not support taxpayer-funded health benefits for those who are in this country illegally."
Politicians are walking a tight rope on this issue, almost all responses from the various press releases state that we need both medical and immigration reforms. But no one has stepped forward with solutions. So these two issues have now become intertwined.
Taking time to speak with citizens on the streets of Las Vegas today, Digital Journal decided to take an informal poll and see what the man on the street felt.
The unexpected comment, that seemed to run through everyone’s responses, was that “we are paying for illegals and indigent health through higher insurance premiums,” as one gentleman put while sipping a whiskey before noon.
It is an issue between the have and have not. Those who have, don’t want to pay for those who do not. Those who don’t have, want or as in the case of medical treatment, a need to keep them alive.
So the health care issue that has been put off be politicians for decades in America, is again raising this multiple headed monster attached to one body. This time it is the human kidney making an appearance on the political scene and bringing Illegal immigration and health care together, making it even tougher for politicians to fight through the myriad stones that this latest story has laid on the path to finding a solution to the health care dilemma facing Americans.
But it is more than that; it is becoming a morality issue, money over people or people over money. Some how there has to be a balance between our humanity and the cost of caring. Until we can find that balance, health care and its costs will continue to ham string the economy, and choices by the have not crowd will continue to find loop holes to get treatment. This will continue until politicians get off their cushy chairs in Washington and step up and make the hard choices, but of course they want to keep their jobs, they have great health care paid for by the citizens who elected them to be there.
Health care is a dog chasing its tail issue and until we stop bickering and getting angry over the politics of it, we will continue to deal with rising health care costs, insurance rates, and more and more Americans will be left with out any health care.
It is becoming a philosophical question, life over money or money over life, it is affront on our humanity, it is a tragedy that services are available but with out the money, lives are being lost, and once again we are faced with this crucible, we are placing a higher value on a dollar than we are a human being.
More about Kidney dialysis, University medical center, Illegal aliens, Las vegas
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