Ana Puente was an infant with a liver disorder when her aunt brought her illegally to the U.S. to seek medical care. She underwent two liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center as a child in 1989 and a third in 1998, each paid for by the state.
But when Puente turned 21 last June, she aged out of her state-funded health insurance and the ability to continue treatment at UCLA. [...]
Puente's case highlights two controversial issues: Should illegal immigrants receive liver transplants in the U.S. and should taxpayers pick up the cost?
The average cost of a liver transplant and first-year follow-up is nearly $490,000, and antirejection medications can run more than $30,000 annually, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees transplantation nationwide.
Donor livers are also in scarce supply. In California, nearly 3,700 people are on a waiting list for livers, according to the network. Last year, 767 liver transplants were performed in the state. More than 90% of the organs were given to U.S. citizens.
The reader also learns about the California programs that give illegal aliens more rights and privileges than citizens.
Late last month Puente learned of another, little-known option for patients with certain healthcare needs. If she notified U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that she was in the country illegally, state health officials might grant her full Medi-Cal coverage. Puente did so, her benefits were restored and she is now awaiting a fourth transplant at UCLA.
Get that? Breaking the law gets her a special provision of California policy providing free healthcare for illegal aliens only. Nice! Naturally she has already signed up for her new freebies, from the old source (us battered taxpayers).
After freeloading so much stuff from the American taxpayer, Puente has a sense of entitlement that just won't quit...
"It doesn't matter if I'm undocumented," she said. "They should take care of me at UCLA for the rest of my life because I've been there since I was a baby."
This is an excellent, maddening article that deserves a close reading.
Incidentally, California is deep in debt: California proposes $7 billion for prison healthcare (LA Times, April 12):
As of Oct. 1, the state had $57.3 billion in debt outstanding, plus $78.2 billion that has been authorized but not yet borrowed. The prison borrowing would not be dependent on approval by voters because state officials want to use a type of bonds that requires only lawmakers' permission.
And lest we forget, Puente's nation of citizenship, Mexico, is quite wealthy (often ranking around #15 in GDP among nations) and could easily afford to take better care of its citizens. Mexico only pretends to be poor so it can dump its unwanted sick and uneducated on Uncle Sucker, as well as hustle foreign aid for various alleged reasons.
Schwarzenegger and the SacraMexico legislature recently pitched a healthcare program that would include illegal immigrant children. If their idiotic legislation were ever to pass, all the sick kids of Mexico and beyond would soon be here, and California would sink in red ink like a stone.