I am often disappointed by misinformation presented as fact by journalists and pundits. The latest is the kerfuffle about free medical care for undocumented or, for that matter, documented immigrants.
I served on a hospital board in West Chester, Pa., for over 35 years so I have some knowledge to bring to the subject. The fact is, if one can get to an emergency room, the law requires they be treated. They may be checked in, questioned about their finances and background, but the law requires they be treated until well or transferred to another facility where care can be continued. Do we, taxpayers, eventually pay for that treatment through our hospitals and foundations? We do.
Hence, undocumented or not, we already give “free” health care to all. Any politician who claims it is his idea is dissembling, at best.
One odd feature is that hospitals are required by law to pursue payment. “Charitable” care is rarely permitted by your government, and the indigent are put into the position of avoiding collection agencies, or declaring bankruptcy. Not pleasant for them, but true. Hospitals are very rarely permitted to write off “charitable” care. Often hospitals get around that through the establishment of clinics or volunteer medical services, but not through their own offices.
And you know what? I agree with the system, flawed as it may be. The next sick person who needs care may be me.
William S. Wood II