ChiTrib Finds Illegal Immigrants Laughing at Idea of Returning Home to Socialized Medicine

<p>While liberal Democrats pressed on the issue insist proposals before Congress for health care reform will not cover illegal immigrants, today's Chicago Tribune lamented that &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-immigrant-health-transplant... target="_blank">Illegal immigrants face life-and-death decisions without health insurance</a>.&quot;</p><p>Tribune reporter Antonio Olivo served up a 36-paragraph story focused particularly on the plight of illegal immigrants in need of organ transplants. But it seems Olivo buried his lede given the excerpt below from paragraphs 25-28, wherein the immigrants he interviewed scoffed at the idea of going back for government-run health care in their home countries (emphasis mine):</p><blockquote>In Chicago, about a dozen patients in need of organ transplants lean on one another through an informal support group. They sat recently inside one patient's <span class="taxInlineTagLink">Pilsen</span> home, comparing kidney dialysis regimens and worries over mounting hospital bills. Within the group, sharing medicine is common. In cases where pills are running out, so is rationing one pill a day instead of three.<br /><br /> <b>Asked about returning to Mexico or other homelands to receive more comprehensive care, the group broke into laughter.</b><br /><!--break--><br /> <b>&quot;Over there, it's a thousand times worse,&quot;</b> said Juan Zavala, a legal immigrant from Mexico and a transplant recipient who started the informal network. <b>&quot;Here, you may get treated poorly by some nurse or doctor. There? They'll give you a kick and tell you you're out of luck.&quot;</b></blockquote><blockquote>Sitting nearby, listening, was Liliana Cruz, 16. After she received a diagnosis of kidney failure in the Mexican state of Michoacan, her family came to the <b>U.S. illegally in 2005 to seek help in getting a transplant after Mexican doctors said family members would have to pay cash in their own country.</b> <br /></blockquote><p>Despite having a constitutionally guaranteed right to taxpayer-funded public health care in Mexico, Liliana Cruz's family would have had to pay out-of-pocket for her kidney transplant-related expenses. As an illegal immigrant in Illinois, her family is finding at least some U.S. taxpayer support for Cruz's operation:</p><blockquote>Under current federal laws, illegal immigrants are entitled to receive only emergency health care, though Illinois and some other states offer assistance to cover uninsured children. In <span class="taxInlineTagLink">Cook County</span>, some immigrants might access a &quot;limit of liability&quot; program providing temporary financial aid to low-income uninsured patients. </blockquote><blockquote>[...] <br /></blockquote><blockquote>Cruz's age qualifies her to receive a transplant paid for by the state's All Kids health subsidy program, and she has a willing donor in an adult sister. But the UIC Medical Center has declined the procedure because the sister's part of the surgery would not be subsidized.</blockquote><p>So Cruz has to wait longer on a waiting list for a transplant, but she's still eligible for one. Even so, Olivo opted to close his story on a hopeless note, perhaps all the better to tug on readers' heart strings for government health care for illegal immigrants:</p><blockquote><p>A well-meaning nurse at the dialysis center handed Cruz's mother a sales brochure for Crazy Cookies, which would earn the family $3 for every box sold.<br /><br /> The family tried selling the chocolate chip treats for a day before giving up. Cruz's mother, who asked that her name not be used because of her undocumented status, doubted that selling the treats would help save her daughter.<br /><br /> &quot;It would take me decades,&quot; she said. </p></blockquote>

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters