When it comes to healthcare on the public tab, big-ticket items like organ transplants immediately get people's attention. The initial surgery is enormously expensive and the procedure requires a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs. It was reported in 2008 that the "cost of a liver transplant and first-year follow-up is nearly $490,000, and anti-rejection medications can run more than $30,000 annually."
There is no question that foreigners illegally enter the country to get million-dollar transplants not available at home, e.g. Ana Puente and Jessica Santillan, who received at least seven organs between them. The Chicago Tribune recently reported, "Liliana Cruz, 16, and her family came to the U.S. illegally in 2005, trying to get a kidney transplant for her." She hasn't gotten a transplant and complains about receiving free-to-her dialysis provided by taxpayers. So inconvenient.
A new illegal alien poster boy for free-to-them healthcare is Omar Castillo. Predictably, the press put on a full-tilt sob story to snooker the public, since Americans don't want rare organs given to lawbreaking aliens instead of citizens; every organ given to a freeloading foreigner is one not given to a sick American who may die without it. In this case, Omar's brother donated a kidney, but that's unusual.
[Debate heats up on healthcare for illegal immigrants, Chicago Tribune, August 11, 2009]
Reporting from Chicago - Pushing around a cart filled with steamed corn, sliced cucumbers and other street food, Omar Castillo is the embodiment of what has become a third rail in the healthcare debate.
The 19-year-old, who received a kidney transplant last year, is in the U.S. illegally and has no ready access to long-term medical care. So peddling snacks is how he pays for the expensive drugs he needs to stay healthy.
What a load. Omar doesn't pay for his expensive medicine, the taxpayer does, albeit indirectly in this case.
To cover the needs of an estimated 6.8 million uninsured illegal immigrants, some advocates have proposed broadening the healthcare overhaul legislation now before Congress.
But fierce opposition has kept the idea off the table.
Another lie. Congressional Democrats have voted against requiring identity verification to receive Obamacare. As legislation stands now, illegal aliens will indeed get freebie medical care on the backs of citizen taxpayers.
Castillo received his transplant and a year of free medicine as part of a hospital study at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago after lobbying by Latino activists and a call from the governor's office. With the study over, his last free prescription is running out.
"We don't know what we'll do when the medicine is gone," said Castillo, holding two nearly empty bottles of the immunosuppressants he takes to ward off an organ rejection.
Aliens quickly become accustomed to first-world medical care and come to see it as their rightful entitlement. Illegal alien and multiple tranplant recipient Ana Puente declared, "They should take care of me at UCLA for the rest of my life because I've been there since I was a baby."
That idea was essentially the same argument used against the Florida hospital that deported an illegal alien patient back to Guatemala after it spent $1.5 million treating him.
It is immoral, immigration activists say, for hospitals and doctors — as well as a nation — to deny healthcare to the seriously ill, no matter their legal status. But proponents of tougher immigration enforcement and others fighting to contain runaway costs fear that providing such services would encourage more illegal border crossings.
Immoral? Liberals are so virtuous with other people's money.
If voters think we have a budget problem now, just wait till word gets around that America is the free Obamacare medical center for the world, no questions asked. There will be no sick people left overseas.
An August 7 WSJ article (France Fights Universal Care's High Cost) included a sidebar of 30 nations' healthcare expenditures as a percentage of GDP. Mexico (5.9%) ranked just above rock-bottom Turkey (5.7%). Mexicans evidently think they can more easily outsource their expensive medical cases to the stupidly obliging Uncle Sucker to the north.
The Chicago ABC affiliate put up a video last year about the pre-surgery complain-a-thon, but nothing more recent that I can find. It shows more of Omar than you might want to see, including his gangsterish haircut and plaintive appeals in Spanish.