Health care in the United States is a complex business that is always changing because of many factors such as new technology, insurance changes, and currently state involvement. The United States has the highest cost of health care in the world because of many factors such as technology, reimbursement from insurance companies and covering the uninsured patient. One class of uninsured patients is illegal immigrants in the United States that are accessing the health care system. There is debate that illegal immigrants come into the United States with the sole purpose of accessing the health care system through the emergency department (ED) at hospitals because they do not have access to the level of health care in their own country. When illegal immigrants access medical care through the ED of a hospital for minor illness or injury, instead of going to a primary care doctor’s office, the cost is higher because of the emergent level of care given in the emergency department.
On the opposite side of the debate, the cost of illegal immigrants accessing health care in the United States is lower than the average cost of an insured American citizen because of the costs of testing and procedures performed. Illegal immigrants only accessing care in the ED incur higher costs per visit but visit less often. Illegal immigrants receive fewer tests than insured patients needing multiple tests do and follow-up care visit. Therefore incurring less cost overall to the health care system. The cost of covering the illegal immigrant who incurs charges in the health care system but does not pay affects the economy of the health care industry. The costs of treating the illegal immigrant come back to the insured patient in higher premiums, the insurance companies in higher plan costs, the local, state, and federal governments in the form of higher costs for services and supplies to cover the lost income.
The majority of the United State’s uninsured is immigrants. The basis of this first article is the frustration that American’s feel at the lack of availability, and quality of health care due to the cost of expansion and amount of coverage available to illegal aliens. The study shows at least half immigrants and their U.S.-born children are using the expensive hospital emergency departments for primary care, causing insured U.S. citizens to wait and possibly receive substandard care. Public health is also an issue with uninsured illegal immigrants. Eradicated diseases in the U.S. are making a come back. Tuberculosis, measles, and bedbugs are becoming more prevalent, with outbreaks found among those born outside the U.S. Federal law makes it impossible to turn away any patient, illegal or not and illegal immigrant are taking advantage of the situation, including giving birth in U.S. hospitals.
Funding, or lack of funding, from federal agencies is not only burdening taxpayers, but also causing hospitals not to receive adequate reimbursement and must close the doors for good. Finally, this article recommends six possible solutions. Legal and illegal immigrants are within the primary downfall to the current financial crisis in health care. Evidence show that in some hospitals, up to two-thirds of the operating cost are for unpaid care to illegal immigrants; nationwide this estimates to one billion dollars in unreimbursed medical expenses per year. Hospitals are constantly raising their pricing for services so they can stay in business. In 2003, the medical industry saw the highest price increase because many hospitals had to cut services, reduce staff, some filed bankruptcy, or went out of business. Illegal immigrants are a bigger burden for hospitals along the southwest border, and in states with high legal and illegal immigrant populations.
The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) approved reimbursement to hospitals for emergent medical care to illegal immigrates, but to date funding has not happened. Hospitals are facing this economical problem without much support from the federal government and with federal mandates in place it makes it very difficult to refuse services. There are several ways the federal government can help alleviate such burden, not only economically but in ways to control such population. Healthcare in the United States is probably one of the most discussed topics today. Healthcare is such an open topic for discussion because its one the largest industries that are constantly changing. Healthcare in the United States can be expensive and for some more than other based off income. There is Medicaid and Medicare however not everyone qualifies for Medicare and Medicaid and then most people say no to health insurance all together.
The United States is the “land of opportunity,” so many immigrants travel over here because they want the better lives or better opportunities and even the better chances of healthcare. Some of these people who do travel over to the United States are legal and some illegal. Healthcare in the United States is possibly some of the only healthcare that these immigrants have received almost ever in life. The discussion is if the cost of healthcare has increased because of illegal immigrants. As the debate over the residency status of the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants boils, another battle is simmering over benefits they deserve any while they are here. Data on health care costs for illegal immigrants are sketchy because hospitals and community health centers do not ask about patients’ legal status. In California, a 2004 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform put the state’s annual cost at $1.4 billion.
Similar studies in Colorado and Minnesota in 2005 came up with much smaller estimates: $31 million and $17 million, respectively. (USA Today, 2008) One thing is clear: Undocumented immigrants are driving up the number of people without health insurance. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 59% of the nation’s illegal immigrants are uninsured compared with 25% of legal immigrants and 14% of U.S. citizens. Illegal immigrants represent about 15% of the nation’s 47 million uninsured people — and about 30% of the increase since 1980 (USA Today, 2008). Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to receive healthcare as they are not illegal.
Siskind, G. (2004). Uncontrolled Immigration Yields Healthcare’s Critical Financial State, According to Study by Anti-Immigration Group. Venulex Legal
Summaries, 1. Green, A., & Martin, J. (2004). Uncontrolled immigration and the U.S. health care system. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 29(2), 225-241. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/216800962?accountid=458 Wolf, R. (2008, January). Rising health care costs put focus on illegal immigrants. USA Today, (), 3.