One of the problems with having so many, um, "undocumented" immigrants is the strain on our health care system. Many (most?) of these folks have no health insurance, nor the means to pay substantial health care bills. And yet, out of compassion or necessity or law, continue to provide them with neeeded health care.
The problem, of course, is that someone has to pay, and that "someone" is often the greater community, because the providers are forced out of business:
"A small group of nurses and community members gathered outside Southern Hills Medical Center on Monday morning to protest the hospital's decision to discontinue labor and delivery services — a move they say will be particularly hard-felt in a community known for its high population of immigrants and patients who are uninsured or without prenatal care."
While it's tempting to lay the blame for this on the health insurance system, it's really the fault of politicians and activists who refuse to acknowledge the not-so-hidden costs of a policy that tacitly (and not so tacitly) encourages such folks to make their home here, without the tedious process of doing so legally.
"Nearly 600 babies were delivered at Southern Hills Medical Center each year before the hospital suspended its obstetrics services Sept. 1...Southern Hills suspended obstetric services following the resignation of our largest group of obstetricians."
It's really not difficult to divine just why Southern Hills took a pass: after all, how long can they afford to render free services?
And what's the community's response?
If you said "well, obviously they're going to try to reduce the number of illegals straining the system," you're not paying attention:
"The nurses and healthcare activists hope that a new nearby Spanish-language billboard reading "Nosotros Merecemos" or "We Deserve" will raise awareness among residents to protest the hospital's decision and will force the facility to reopen the doors to its labor and delivery unit. " [ed: emphasis added]
And just how does one force a doc to deliver babies for free?
Aye, there's the rub.
UPDATE: And adding insult to injury, The Volunteer State's not the only commonwealth to feel the pain of footing the cost of illegals' health care:
"Healthcare for illegal immigrants cost the Texas government and local hospital districts $678 million in a year...The study...estimates that $597 million of the total was spent by 94 public hospitals during fiscal 2005-06.
The remainder, about $81 million, went to the state’s contribution to emergency Medicaid"
The Lone Star State's Health and Human Services Commission compiled these figures to bolster their plea for increased dollars from the Fed. But not everyone's on board:
"Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said looking just at the cost of illegal immigrants doesn’t take into account the money they pump into the state."
Perhaps Rep Burnam should heed the lesson of the broken window.