Stimulated by a question asked by a wonderful human being (and Evangelical Christian, but not so much-to-at-all in your face about it) with whom I quibble a lot on politics, which question was, “What should Parkland Hospital in Dallas (yeah, that Parkland) do about this (which had to be blockquoted because the link to snopes didn’t work–yes, LOL, possibly–it could be snopes just hasn’t gotten around to this one yet)?”

( Sorry for the length, but this needs wide circulation
> particularly to our”employees” in Congress.)
> Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas is a fairly famous
> institution and for a variety of reasons:
> 1. John F. Kennedy died there in 1963
> 2. Lee Harvey Oswald died there shortly after
> 3. Jack Ruby-who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, died there a few years
> coincidence
> On the flip side, Parkland is also home to the second busiest
> maternity ward in the country with almost 16,000 new babies
> arriving each year. (That’s almost 44 per day—every day)
> A recent patient survey indicated that 70 percent of the women who
> gave birth at Parkland in the first three months of 2006 were
> illegal immigrants. That’s 11,200 anchor babies born every year
> just in Dallas
> According to the article, the hospital spent $70.7 million
> delivering 15,938 babies in 2004 but managed to end up with almost
> $8 million dollars in surplus funding. Medicaid kicked in $34.5
> million, Dallas County taxpayers kicked in $31.3 million and the
> feds tossed in another $9.5 million.
> The average patient in Parkland is maternity wards is 25 years old,
> married and giving birth to her second child. She is also an
> illegal immigrant. By law, pregnant women cannot be denied medical
> care based on their immigration status or ability to pay.
> OK, fine. That doesn’t mean they should receive better care than
> everyday, middle-class American citizens. But at Parkland
> Hospital , they do. ” Parkland Memorial Hospital has nine prenatal
> clinics. NINE.
> The Dallas Morning News article followed a Hispanic woman who was
> a patient at one of the clinics and pregnant with her third child—
> her previous two were also born at Parkland . Her first two
> deliveries were free and the Mexican native was grateful because it
> would have cost $200 to have them in Mexico . This time, the
> hospital wants her to pay $10 per visit and $100 for the delivery
> but she was unsure if she could come up with the money. Not that it
> matters, the hospital won’t turn her away.. (I wonder why they
> even bother asking at this point.)
> “How long has this been going on? What are the long-term effects?
> Well, another subject of the article was born at Parkland in 1986
> shortly after her mother entered the US illegally – now she is
> having her own child there as well. (That’s right, she’s
> technically a US citizen.)
> These women receive free prenatal care including medication,
> nutrition, birthing classes and child care classes.. They also get
> freebies such as car seats, bottles, diapers and formula.
> Most of these things are available to American citizens as well
> but only for low-income applicants and even then, the red tape
> involved is almost insurmountable.
> Because these women are illegal immigrants, they do not have to
> provide any sort of legitimate identification – no proof of income.
> An American citizen would have to provide a social security number
> which would reveal their annual income – an illegal immigrant need
> only claim to be poor and the hospital must take them at their word.
> Parkland Hospital offers indigent care to Dallas County residents
> who earn less than $40,000 per year. (They also have to prove that
> they did not refuse health coverage at their current job. Yeah,
> the ‘free’ care is not so easy for Americans.)
> There are about 140 patients who received roughly $4 million
> dollars for un-reimbursed medical care. As it turns out, they did
> not qualify for free treatment because they resided outside of
> Dallas County so the hospital is going to sue them! Illegals get
> it all free! But U. S citizens who live outside of Dallas County
> get sued! How stupid is this?
> As if that isn’t annoying enough, the illegal immigrant patients
> are actually complaining about hospital staff not speaking
> Spanish. In this AP story, the author speaks with a woman who is
> upset that she had to translate comments from the hospital staff
> into Spanish for her husband. The doctor was trying to explain the
> situation to the family and the mother was forced to translate for
> her husband who only spoke Spanish. This was apparently a great
> injustice to her.
> In an attempt to create a Spanish-speaking staff, Parkland Hospital
> is now providing incentives in the form of extra pay for applicants
> who speak Spanish. Additionally, medical students at the
> University of Texas Southwestern for which Parkland Hospital is
> the training facility will now have a Spanish language requirement
> added to their already jammed-packed curriculum. No other school in
> the country boasts such a ridiculous multi-semester
> (multicultural) requirement.
> Remember that this is about only ONE hospital in Dallas , Texas .
> There are many more hospitals across our country that must also
> deal with this.
> If you want to verify accuracy:

It’s a good question, anyway.

My answer was this:

OK, on point.

One, TX is a supremely messed up state, governmentally.

We’re conflating two issues, illegal immigration and health care, and I’m (you might be surprised) pretty “conservative” on illegals, which is to say I don’t think all illegals should be shot or at least deported like the GOP base, but I have some issues with ADULT illegals getting access to government services. But health care is one I would bend a bit on, because, you know, I’m a human being, too, and if I were in another country and got sick or hurt I wouldn’t want my citizenship status to weigh too heavily on the care I got. Doesn’t seem very Christian to me.

Now, illegals by even generous estimates make up not much more than 10% of the population, so dealing with them as any kind of priority issue in the health care debate seems a bit backwards to me, much like the vaunted “tort reform” issue that has been flogged to death would save us POINT 4 PERCENT over 10 years.

I guess I’d like to see a situation where U.S. citizens in TX could be treated like the illegals are, from a cost perspective, and it seems TX could do that with some political will–TX doesn’t have a state income tax, for example. Yep, someone has to pay for it, but I don’t mind because one thing is almost for sure for ALL (100%!) of us: We’re going to get sick and die. Which is why I think the system is so pathetic as it stands now both in terms of cost and coverage. I’ve told you before, it seems like a nice thing we should all do for each other, at least to me. It also exposes a flaw in the Federalist argument–obviously economies of scale work better from a national perspective.

So I guess I’d like to see the illegals at Parkland have to jump through more hoops, but still get cared for, and/or the legals jumping through fewer hoops to the same end.

So the brilliant political idea, I believe salable to both right and left, would be this: If you get caught being an illegal, including at a Dr.’s office if you prefer to debate that, you owe us X amount of national service, doing whatever we tell you to do, but one thing we’ll also be doing is teaching any of you who want to join the Club how to be a citizen of this immigrant country. We could call it, “a path to citizenship.”

The people who don’t want to join pick up the garbage, or clean parks, or wash dishes. For longer periods. They get paid, but they’re also paying back. Plus, they’d get health care. And be paying for it! Which is a helluva lot cheaper than giving them free ER care for stuff like pneumonia and broken bones.

The ones begging to be citizens with educations and skills could be charged with building power grids, erecting windmills and solar panels, laying Supertrain turf, not to mention designing and building Supertrains, and running projects.

I wish more people would just simply listen to me once in a while.