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The national spotlight is on Arizona for doing what the federal government and previous Gov. Napolitano refused to do: rein in an invasion of illegal aliens bankrupting Arizona. At an August 2009 healthcare town hall in Phoenix, legislators said that more than half of Arizona’s $4 billion budget deficit was the result of paying for three areas of services to illegal immigrants: education, healthcare and incarceration.
What does illegal immigration have to do with your costs and your access to medical care when you need it?
Estimates are that 20-40 percent of uncompensated (“free”) medical services are provided to people in the U.S. illegally. The actual number may be much higher. Shockingly, hospitals and clinics don’t ask about citizenship, a medical version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
In both Tucson and Dallas where I have practiced medicine, hospitals are struggling under massive costs of uncompensated medical services for uninsured people who, by federal law, cannot be turned away for lack of insurance or ability to pay.
How much does this uncompensated care actually cost taxpayers? The incredible answer: no one knows.
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