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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The New York Times Deborah Sontag has written one of the best reports I've so far seen on the difficult subject of health care and immigrants. Sontag's story focuses on what hospitals do who receive seriously injured and ill immigrant patients - both legally and illegally present - who lack health insurance. The report discusses the variety of responses hospitals have had in dealing with patients whose care can be extraordinarily expensive. Some force out patients and act to repatriate them to hospitals outside the US. Unlike American patients, Medicaid is not an option and reimbursement from the federal government stopped last month when a law providing for such assistance expired.

Who are the bad guys here?

The hospitals? Hospitals that force out patients who may face life threatening circumstances? But health care costs are driven up for everyone else and hospitals are facing the financial crisis as well. Is it fair that they are forced to bear the costs?

The patients? Should people illegally present be permitted to pass the costs on to American hospitals or the American government? And what about their home country governments that often seem to lose interest if they find out someone else is paying. On the other hand, many of these people have worked extremely hard and provided benefits to the American public, particularly those who are employed in backbreaking jobs. And contrary to what most people believe, they pay taxes. They pay sales taxes and in large percentage of cases, they're paying income taxes as well.

How about Congress? If we had a guest worker program, many of these people would potentially have access to health insurance. And how about the broken health care system that has left so many American citizens destitute simply because they had the misfortune to get sick? How many years must pass before Congress tackles this thorny problem.

The article presents a lot of tough questions and I don't pretend to have the answers. I have hope, however, that we're finally at a stage as a country where our leaders will begin tackling these issues and passing needed reforms after decades of gridlock.


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  1. USC's Avatar
    Really great news:

    Rep. Virgil Goode, a prominent anti, has lost (he refuses to concede, but it is only a matter of time now) his bid for re-election by 745 votes. To those who are unaware Goode is full of hate towards all immigrants. An example of his hatred:

    "Another magnet that we must fix is the anchor baby. The United States, unlike most countries of the western world, provides for the children born of persons illegally in this country with citizenship."

    "Goode maintains that immigration is a drain on the country's economy and needs to be stopped."
  2. USC's Avatar
    Sorry, I forgot to provide the link to the Virginia Board of Elections. Goode was the incumbent in the 5th CD.

  3. CIR Guy's Avatar
    USC - you are citing out of context. What you are doing is lying and misleading others on this board. Goode is in favor of more skilled legal immigration and is only opposed to the illegals. He is pro immigration.
  4. Jack's Avatar
    'If we had a guest worker program, many of these people would potentially have access to health insurance.'

    Really? What percentage of H-2A/B employers provide health insurance? It only seems fair if people are brought to America not to be a full participant in society but for the sole purpose of enriching their employers, shouldn't those employers be REQUIRED to provide health insurance which guarantees that the public not be on the hook for any medical costs which might arise? Of course, if we required that employers would likely just bypass the system and go black market so long as doing so carries little risk.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Jack - You're baiting the wrong guy on that subject...
  6. Jack's Avatar
    I actually wasn't trying to bait you as I wasn't aware of your position on that. So you are for requiring insurance/bond? If so, good.
  7. USC's Avatar
    "What you are doing is lying and misleading others on this board."

    NumbersUSA gives him an A+ career grade and an A- on his recent votes:

    Here is a detailed breakdown on his votes on actual votes:

    I must say that I find your characterizations surreal. You consider Sen. Kennedy an anti and Chambliss a pro!

  8. Another voice's Avatar
    I'll say this about the subject, I work in the legal industry and we represent many immigrant clients that have suffered terrible injuries in accidents.

    Hospitals rarely hurt from these immigrants as Workers compensation insurance have to pick up the claims regardless of the immigration status of the immigrants and pays the bills, if not a WC the hospitals file liens against the insurance recovery should the injury was in a car accident or other type of accident and if all of these fail they can always bill Medicaid/ Medicare. So they protect themselves quite well.

    Patients most of the time get the short end of the stick as most of the time they are under insured and lack personal insurance coverage. Many insurance companies as they know the status of the patient are fighting some of these claims in court as they know that given the anti climate in the US juries will not award verdicts to immigrants(terrible!!). But the ones that make a recovery always have to pay their bills because the lien from the hospital.

    Congress: Even if a law is passed a lot of these immigrants need to be given an education of private coverage as most of their countries try to do Universal coverage even though is terrible therefore they are not used to paying for doctors. Many people that are sick and un-insured do use the emergency services as their last choice but that is the main use of the taxes they pay into the system education and health care.
  9. Ocotilloaz's Avatar
    Here is my personal experience. My wife was hospitalized for a day for an emergency condition and had a surgury. We received $23,000 bill from the hospital, and guess what! My insurance company repriced that bill at $1,400 and the hospital accepted! So the hospital would have shown a loss of $23,000 if the patient was an uninsured illegal immigrant!

    Anyway, we did not learn the lesson from this incident, and we ignored to consider our limited coverage on our policy for having a baby. The same hospital charged us about $25,000 this time, and the insurance company just paid the $5,000 coverage we had, and left the rest of the bill for us to pay. They did not even reprice this time with an explanation that we had less coverage than the bill and they dont reprice in such case. Later I found out that we would be charged around a total of $7,000 by the hospital if we had negotiated with them earlier. So we would be paying $2,000 out of pocket if I had negotiated eralier, but now I am on a payment plan and paying off the remaining $20,000. Healthcare ***** here man!

    To those who think that socialized healthcare lacks quality, just go to UK and see for yourself. I have relatives in UK who are absolutely satisfied with the healthcare system over there. Its a shame that such a wealty contry decline to provide healthcare to its poor citizens, let alone immigrants!
  10. Honza Prchal's Avatar
    Excellent article. The new International Civitan Chapter in Birmingham, AL will likely be addressing this issue among others.
    For those who think English health care (see first comment, above) is great however, look at how much longer we keep massively unhealthy diabetics alive or treat formerly end stage disease like heart disease and cancer, or how much more aggressive we are at trying to save preemies (a reason our infant motality is high, we count other nations' routine still-births as patients we can save). That said, socialist systems do immunize better.
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