Foreigners gaming US healthcare system
Medical bills are pushing more Americans into severe “financial distress” even if they have insurance, according to a top medical journal. These bills force hundreds of thousands into bankruptcy each year.Send a bill to the government of the freeloading patients. If they will not pay, deduct the amount from any aid payments by the US to that government. They can then collect at least some of the money from the patients when they come home.
What’s so galling is that while Americans struggle to pay their bills, freeloaders from other countries get the same care at no cost by gaming our generous open-door hospital policies. They take a flight to the United States, go straight to an emergency room and get pacemakers, chemotherapy and other expensive care, leaving American taxpayers to foot their bills.
Evan Levine, cardiologist at a Bronx teaching hospital, recently treated a Trinidad resident who had learned his pacemaker battery was about to give out. He came to New York to avoid paying for cardiac care back home. Cost to him? Zero, aside from airfare.
It’s a common practice, according to a medical-device salesman who services hospitals in the New York area. He gets calls for pacemakers destined for patients from South America or Central America who fly in and take a bus directly to the hospital.
The bill for one pacemaker patient can reach $96,000. John Q. Public gets stuck with it.
Taxpayers cough up an estimated $2 billion a year for a program called Emergency Medicaid, according to Kaiser Health News. It covers everyone unable to pay for emergency medical care, including illegal immigrants and residents of other countries here for medical freebies.