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Wednesday, November 28, 2007
(11:25 AM) | Stephen:
Reality Check: Illegal Immigrant Edition

Via Ezra, here's another study showing that illegal immigrants not only don't go to the emergency room more than hardworking & law-abiding citizens from America's Heartland, they actually utilize emergency care far less than we do.

Hospitals have been complaining about the costs of treating the uninsured for quite some time, and nativist politicians and groups like the Minutemen have been quick to place the blame squarely upon the shoulders of illegal immigrants. Somehow it actually makes sense to some people to believe that these poorly-educated migrant workers are able to know and understand far more about the American welfare system than US citizens and are sophisticated enough to continually, excessively and fraudulently take advantage of it.

The reality about hospitals' costs for treating the uninsured is that there are 45 million American citizens with no health insurance, and an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Even if these two groups use emergency rooms at exactly the same rate it means that American citizens account for 80% of those costs. If the situation is so bad that emergency rooms need to close - or entire hospitals go out of business - then making so that no illegal immigrant ever goes to the hospital won't solve the problem. This is especially true since multiple studies, such as the one linked above, show that illegal immigrants use emergency services less than the rest of us.

In our current healthcare system, the only people getting rich are the top executives and shareholders of insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Everyone else is seeing their income stagnate. Illegal immigrants, obviously, are not the problem.

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