Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas is a fairly famous institution and for a variety of reasons:
1. John F. Kennedy died there in 1963.
2. Lee Harvey Oswald died there shortly after.
3. Jack Ruby, who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, died there a few years later by coincidence On the flip side, Parkland is also home to the second busiest maternity ward in the country with almost 16,000 new babies arriving each year. (That’s almost 44 per day—every day.)
A recent patient survey indicated that 70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland in the first three months of 2006 were illegal immigrants.’ Crikey, that’s 11,200 “anchor babies” born every year just in Dallas. According to the article, the hospital spent $70.7 million delivering 15,938 babies in 2004 but managed to end up with almost $8 million dollars in surplus funding. Medicaid kicked in $34.5 million, Dallas County taxpayers kicked in $31.3 million and the feds tossed in another $9.5 million.
The average patient in Parkland’s maternity wards is 25 years old, married and giving birth to her second child. She is also an illegal immigrant. By law, pregnant women cannot be denied medical care based on their immigration status or ability to pay. OK, fine. That doesn’t mean they should receive better care than everyday, middle-class American citizens. But at Parkland Hospital, they do.
Parkland Memorial Hospital has nine prenatal clinics. NINE.
The Dallas Morning News article followed a Hispanic woman who was a patient at one of the clinics and pregnant with her third child—her previous two were also born at Parkland. Her first two deliveries were free and the Mexican native was grateful because it would have cost $200 to have them in Mexico. This time, the hospital wants her to pay $10 per visit and $100 for the delivery but she was unsure if she could come up with the money. Not that it matters, the hospital won’t turn her away. (I wonder why they even bother asking at this point.)
How long has this been going on? What are the long-term effects?
Well, another subject of the article was born at Parkland in 1986 shortly after her mother entered the U.S. illegally—now she is having her own child there as well. (That’s right, she’s technically a U.S. citizen.) These women receive free prenatal care including medication, nutrition, birthing classes and child care classes. They also get freebies such as car seats, bottles, diapers and formula.
Most of these things are available to American citizens as well but only for low-income applicants and even then, the red tape involved is almost insurmountable.
Because these women are illegal immigrants they do not have to provide any sort of legitimate identification—no proof of income. An American citizen would have to provide a social security number which would reveal their annual income—an illegal immigrant need only claim to be poor and the hospital must take them at their word.
My husband is a pilot for the United States Navy (yes, he fought in Iraq) and while the health care is good, we Navy wives don’t get any of these perks! Car seats? Diapers? Not so much. So my question is this: Does our public medical care system treat illegal immigrants better than American citizens? Yes it does!
As I mentioned, the care I have received is perfectly adequate but it’s bare bones, meat and potato medical care—not top of line.
Their (the illegals) medical care is free—simply because they are illegal immigrants?
Once again, there is no way to verify their income. Parkland Hospital offers indigent care to Dallas County residents who earn less than $40,000 per year. (They also have to prove that they did not refuse health coverage at their current job. Yeah, the ‘free’ care is not so easy for Americans.)
There are about 140 patients who received roughly $4 million dollars for un-reimbursed medical care. As it turns out, they did not qualify for free treatment because they resided outside of Dallas County. So the hospital is going to sue them! Illegals get it all free! But U.S. citizens who live outside of Dallas County get sued! How stupid is this?
As if that isn’t annoying enough, the illegal immigrant patients are actually complaining about hospital staff not speaking Spanish!! In this AP story, the author speaks with a woman who is upset that she had to translate comments from the hospital staff into Spanish for her husband. The doctor was trying to explain the situation to the family and the mother was forced to translate for her husband who only spoke Spanish. This was apparently a great injustice to her.
In an attempt to create a Spanish-speaking staff, Parkland Hospital is now providing incentives in the form of extra pay for applicants who speak Spanish. Additionally, medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern for which Parkland Hospital is the training facility will now have a Spanish language requirement added to their already jammed-packed curriculum. No other school in the country boasts such a ridiculous multi-semester (multicultural) requirement.
In the meantime, I have to end my column here. I have to go buy a car seat.
(Ed: Sorry for the length, but this needs wide circulation—-particularly to our “employees” in the Congress.)
Quote of the Day:
“Once the coffers of the federal government are opened to the public, there will be no shutting them again.”