Illegal Aliens on California's Healthcare Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Gene Rogers who served as the medical director for Sacramento County's Indigent Services program for the most of the last decade who has "waged a long fight against the central California country's practice of providing non-emergency medical care to illegal immigrants - a policy he says violates federal law and results in the poorest American citizens being denied the care they deserve." (Cromer, 2007) it is related in Cromer's report that "That fight cost Dr. Rogers his job. In a two sentence memo to Dr. Rogers, the county's Health and Human Services director, Lynn Frank, informed him that he was fired, but thanked him for his services. No reason for his termination was offered..." (Cromer, 2007) According to Cromer "The local cost of the medical treatment provided to illegal immigrants is small when contrasted to the billions of dollars the state and federal governments spend every year on the 'undocumented' but the numbers have grown dramatically. According to county health officials, the hundreds of illegal immigrants who were being treated through the indigent program in the mid-1990s have now grown to thousands of people, with the annual cost to taxpayers swelling into the millions of dollars." (Cromer, 2007)

The work entitled: "Illegal Aliens Bringing Drug-Resistant TB and other Diseases with Them" states that: "In an article in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., Dr. Reuben Granich, a lead investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports the emergence in the U.S. Of a particularly virulent, multi-drug -resistant form of tuberculosis known as MDR-TB. Evidence of it has surfaced in 38 of 61 California health jurisdictions, and it could 'threaten the efficacy of TB control efforts,' Granich said. The infected were said to be four times as likely to die from the disease and twice as likely to transmit the disease to others. Reluctant to label the infected as 'illegal' or even 'undocumented' aliens, the report notes that of the 407 known cases of MDR-TB, 84% were 'foreign-born' patients, mainly from Mexico and the Philippines who'd been in the U.S. less than five years. The percentage of TB cases among the 'foreign-born' jumped from 29% in 1993 to 53% as of last year." (the Business Word, 2005) the report continues by stating that: "What is unseen is their free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America's finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies: 84 California hospitals are closing their doors. 'Anchor babies' born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income.... By default, we grant health passes to illegal aliens. Yet many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease." (the Business Word, 2005)

The work entitled: "Illegal Aliens and American Medicine" states that: "The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences." (Cosman, 2005) Medical care for these individuals is stated to have "degraded and closed some of America's finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies; 84 California hospitals are closing their doors. 'Anchor babies' born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income..." (Cosman, 2005) the problem has been that while "43 million lives are at risk in American because of lack of medical insurance. What is unseen is that medical insurance does not equal medical care. Uninsured people receive medical care in hospital emergency departments (EDs) under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985 (EMTALA) which obligates hospitals to treat the uninsured but does not pay for that care." (Cosman, 2005) Cowman relates that "High-technology EDs have degenerated into free medical offices. Between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because half their services became unpaid. Another 24 California hospitals verge on closure. Even ambulances from Mexico come to American EDs with indigents because the drivers know that EMTALA requires accepting patients who come."

The following figure shows the overall immigration population in the United States for the years 1900 through 2002.

Immigrant Population 1900-2002

Source: The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Facts, Figures and Statistics on Illegal Immigration (2007)

The work entitled: "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Facts, Figures and Statistics on Illegal Immigration" states: "the numbers of immigrants are higher than they have ever been and the numbers of illegal immigrants is approaching the number of legal immigrants. Some of the newer data actually indicates that annual number of illegal aliens entering now exceeds illegal immigrants." (2007) Noted as well is the statement of Robert J. Samuelson in the June 13, 2006 Newsweek article entitled: "The Hard Truth of Immigration" which states: "Being brutally candid means recognizing that the huge and largely uncontrolled inflow of skillful Latino workers in the United States is increasingly sabotaging the assimilation process" and "no society has a boundless capacity to accept newcomers, especially when many are poor and unskilled." (the Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Facts, Figures and Statistics on Illegal Immigration, 2007)

The work entitled: "More Facts about Illegal Aliens Invasion" states that costs to the United States annually for provision of emergency health care for illegal aliens in border states is the amount of $200 million dollars. Furthermore in California, who has over three million illegal aliens the costs for emergency health care in 2004 was the amount of $79 million dollars in hospital care." (Michael and Huhl, 2004) While individuals may not live in these border-states, the taxpayers still pays "commensurate medical care..." (Michael and Huhl, 2004) the work entitled: "Excessive Immigration is Sinking Golden State" states: "Immigration advocates claim that illegal immigrants are needed to boost California's economy. If this were true, why is it that California, the largest illegal-immigration-receiving state, is experiencing its worst budgetary deficits." (Ling-Ling, 2003) According to Ling-Ling: "Mass immigration is also leading to growing fragmentation and political stability in California and the nation." (Ling-Ling, 2003)

The work entitled: "Illegal Aliens Threaten U.S. Medical System" reports that "the increasing number of illegal aliens coming the United States is forcing the closure of hospitals, spreading previously vanquished diseases and threatening to destroy America's prized health-care system..." (World Net Daily, 2005) Furthermore "The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences..." (World Net Daily, 2005) These hidden medical consequences include the spread of the following diseases: (1) Chagas disease, also called American trypanosomiasis or "kissing bug disease," is transmitted by the reduviid bug, which prefers to bite the lips and face. The protozoan parasite that it carries, Trypanosoma cruzi, infects 18 million people annually in Latin America and causes 50,000 deaths. The disease also infiltrates America's blood supply. Chagas affects blood transfusions and transplanted organs. No cure exists. Hundreds of blood recipients may be silently infected; (2) Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, was so rare in America that in 40 years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy. Leprosy now is endemic to northeastern states because illegal aliens and other immigrants brought leprosy from India, Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico; (3) Dengue fever is exceptionally rare in America, though common in Ecuador, Peru, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Mexico. Recently, according to the report, there was a virulent outbreak of dengue fever in Webb County, Texas, which borders Mexico. Though dengue is usually not a fatal disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever routinely kills; (4) Polio was eradicated from America, but now reappears in illegal immigrants as do intestinal parasites, says the report; and (5) Malaria was obliterated, but now is re-emerging in Texas." (World Net Daily, 2005)


The impact of illegal alien immigrants on the California health care system is astronomical and it does not appear that illegal immigration will be stopped or even slowed in the near future. The largest impact of the illegal immigration problem is the unseen problem of infectious disease spread across California and the United States due to the diseases, which illegal immigrants bring to the U.S. with them. Many of these diseases have never been known in the United States while others were long ago eradicated from the U.S. It is critically necessary that the physicians in the state of California develop an initiative to address preventative health care and disease detection and treatment in the population of illegal immigrants in the state of California to prevent spread of these infectious and dangerous diseases.


The methodology of this research is one of a qualitative nature, which will bring together private practitioners in the state of California through focus group discussion studies to formulate a plan through which private practitioners may provide preventative medical care for illegal immigrant aliens. This focus is toward proactively addressing the diseases that these individuals are bringing into…

Sources Used in Document:


Berk, Marc L.; Schur, Claudia L.; Chavez, Leo R. And Frankel, Martin (2000) Health Care Use Among Undocumented Latino Immigrants. Health Affairs July/August 2000. Project Hope. Online available at

Cosman, Madeleine Pelmer (2005) Illegal Aliens and American Medicine. The Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons. Vol. 10. No. 1 Spring, 2005.

Cromer, Mark (2007) California Travesty. The Washington Times. 27, Aug 2007. Online available at

Derose, Kathryn Pitkin; Escarce, Jose J., and Lurie, Nicole (2007) Immigrants and Health Care: Sources of Vulnerability. Health Affairs 26, No. 5. 2007 Project Hope.

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