Sunday, April 13, 2008

They Only Want to Work

.. and only those jobs Americans won't do.

This is outrageous. Read this and watch your blood pressure.

From Sunday front page LATimes:
Ana Puente, 21, is waiting for her fourth liver transplant. Puente is an undocumented immigrant.
Ana Puente was an infant with a liver disorder when her aunt brought her illegally to the U.S. to seek medical care. She underwent two liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center as a child in 1989 and a third in 1998, each paid for by the state.

But when Puente turned 21 last June, she aged out of her state-funded health insurance and was unable to continue treatment at UCLA.

This year, her liver began failing again and she was hospitalized at County-USC Medical Center. In her Medi-Cal application, a USC doctor wrote, "Her current clinical course is irreversible, progressive and will lead to death without another liver transplant." The application was denied.

The county gave her medication but does not have the resources to perform transplants.

Late last month Puente learned of another, little-known option for patients with certain healthcare needs. If she notified U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that she was in the country illegally, state health officials might grant her full Medi-Cal coverage. Puente did so, her benefits were restored and she is now awaiting a fourth transplant at UCLA.

So far, in excess of $2 million in free care for little Ana. Ain't universal free healthcare and unlimited State funding wunnerful?


w said...

Thanks for posting this. I flipped out reading this to my wife this morning.

Is the LA Times writing these stories as part of new ownership trying to push the debate?

Rob Dawg said...

I think the LATimes is struggling to find a new audience seeing as they are losing to old age, moving out, financial disaster, reduced coverage all their old readership.

Read today's Ventura County Star editorial begging for help to "save" the newspaper.

How many people you reckon died in order to give this one kid three livers?

Funny Circus Bears said...

Puer insanity.

Illegals should be used for HARVESTING organs, not as recipients.

Rob Dawg said...

The article actually has an asshat make that very claim:

But Dr. Michael Shapiro, vice chairman of the ethics committee for the organ network, said illegal immigrants have just as much right to organ transplants as U.S. citizens. He said it is likely that more illegal immigrants donate organs than receive them.

This is a guy on an ethics committee.

Akubi said...

Yes the $490,000 price tag is rather astounding, but rather than get angry at a very sick girl trying to survive why don’t we focus on all of the cheap loosers™ hiring the illegals. Anyway, in a budget crisis Health & Human Services is the first to go so I doubt this loophole will last.

Akubi said...
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Casey Serin said...

Back to the blood bank it goes! :-)

Kenneth said...

How many people you reckon died in order to give this one kid three livers?

My guess would be three.

Also, my guess is she's been in the country since she was at least two.

But let's deport the sick young woman to a place she hasn't lived in since she was an infant.

I'm mean I could see how you would be upset if she wanted fava beans and a nice chianti with those livers.

But this is pretty ugly of you.

Rob Dawg said...

You really think $2m+ and counting of rationed healthcare going to this one child only cost the lives of the three donors? That's not the way we do things here.

Kenneth said...

What's funny is that am normally the heartless libertarian on the internet.

Look, the way I see it there are three separate issues here:
1) Organ transplantation politics
2) Payment for healthcare
3) Immigration

(1) will continue to be an complex issue until we can grow new stuff in vats. (2) is definitely the debated issue of our time (third only to the war and the economy) - and on which I suspect we more or less agree on most aspects.

From the article 90% of transplant recipients are US citizens, which from a quick google is approx the ratio of U.S citizens in California . And there are undoubtedly a few of the 10% who are probably here on 'medical tourism' and so are paying their own way anyway. So your post reads to me like 'OMG their taking our healthcare' while the problems are completely defined by (1) and (2) above.

I guess my point is plugging (3) into the mix is just to push buttons, without adding wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I can go you one better. This was probably her nurse.

Akubi said...

I could see how you would be upset if she wanted fava beans and a nice chianti with those livers.
Sweet! I love fava beans! Win-win!
I agree with Kenneth BTW.

w said...
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w said...

Blowing $2 million in public money on terminal cases is irresponsible.

Akubi said...

Blowing $2 million - in more ways than one - is a drop in the bucket when it comes to our gubbermint (State AND *Federal*).

Sweet Cashback said...

This just adds to my argument that we ALREADY have universal healthcare in this country. But it is just financed by the few that don't see insurance as something optional. No matter if you get yourself insurance or not you will always be treated so what sense (other then moral) does it make to get insurance?

Make everybody pay for healthcare and they will at least pay some part of the expense. Every taxpayer already pays for universal healthcare.......folks with health insurance are just double paying suckers.

Centipede said...

I'll stick with my own morality and ethics even if everyone else sells their soul.

The_Scum said...

Californians deserve California.

As to the sick lady...I'd hit it!

w said...

Akubi, that is $2 million on one patient. How many non-terminal cases could have had great medical care for that money? When you need 4 livers by the time you are 22 it is clear that this is not a cure. Will she need 8 livers by the age of 40? By then will she have used $5 million of tax payer money? Every one of these cases is like a lottery winner, only we pay for it.

Jean ValJean said...

In real news..

how soon until Wachovia goes under?

6 months?

Peripheral Visionary said...

There is a serious ethical issue as to whether or not it is right for one person to receive more in healthcare (state funded or insurance funded) than most people earn in their entire lifetime. Obviously, everyone can't receive $2M in healthcare, so should anyone at all be receiving that much?

But don't confuse this with nationalized healthcare. What's going on is "universal free" healthcare, *not* "nationalized" healthcare. Under "universal free", anyone who wants a kidney transplant gets one, free of charge. Under European-style nationalized systems, anyone who needs a kidney transplant goes onto the list, and based on how many operations are authorized per year and how long the list is, they wait until their number gets called (if they're still alive, presumably.)

I'm not opposed to giving free healthcare to those who can't afford it, including, yes, illegals. I just think it should be controlled somehow. Sit down and decide, we're setting aside X number of surgeries and Y number of hospital beds for non-payers, and if the non-payers need it, they can get their name on the list and wait, while people who are paying with insurance or out of pocket go to the front of the line, just like Canada. Costs are kept under control, and healthcare is available even to the desperately poor, but there's still a powerful incentive to pay for better services. At that point the bleeding-heart types can stop complaining that we aren't providing the services, and instead will have to join their European counterparts in crying about how long the wait lists are.

Bill said...

Well, if no one else will say it, I will.

This poor girl has something very, very wrong with her body, which a new organ won't fix, no matter how sorry we feel for her.

Her case is similar to that of Natalie Sarkisyan, who was so sick (in a coma as a result of previous surgery) that implanting a liver would have been a waste of a viable organ.

In the greater LA area, there is someone on the waiting list who has a good chance of being cured with a new liver (not just renting it for a few years)

As PV points out, a true national health system does cold-hearted cost-benefit analyses and would likely never have approved Ana for a 3rd transplant, much less a 4th.

Tach said...

Let's run some scenarios and each person can answer privately.

1) Ana is an American citizen who can't afford (or more to the point, who's parents can't afford insurance). How many transplants should she get?

2) Ana is an American citizen who can afford insurance, but the insurance company says she can't get even the first transplant. How many transplants should she get?

3) Ana is an American citizen who can afford insurance and the insurance company decides they'll pay for one transplant. How many transplants should she get?

Is your answer the same for all the above examples? Is it the same number as when Ana is (in reality) an illegal immigrant (not by any of her own actions, it might be added.) Think about why that might be.

There's a thing that is simulataneously wonderful and horrible about living in a democracy. Sometimes, your taxes get things you agree with, sometimes they get used for things you vehemently oppose.

For all those who oppose the use of 'their' tax dollars for this healthcare, how many of the things you do favor do you think others are just as steamed over their taxes being used for?

Beyonder said...

Cool, I guess when we all discover we have some disease, we should renounce our citizenship, get free treatment, then repatriate later when we're better. I can't for the life of me figure out why any illegal would want to be legal when the current system gives them free kidney transplants, free child delivery, free education. We've built every possible disincentive into the system to encourage legal migration.

Annie said...

Hey Rob -

Haven't read your site for a long time.... just logged on tonight and saw this post.

Why can't we send her back to her home country and let their medical facilities and doctors take care of her?

And, people wonder why healthcare is so darn expensive in the US?

Oh, and I wonder if she's getting the new liver because she was unable to properly take or afford her anti-rejection medications.

ProblemWithCaring said...

I am happy she will not die & that our systmen is there for her. I just wish that I didn't have to go to Tiajuana for major dental work.

It's not a bad thing that she can afford UCLA medical treatment - it just sucks that because I pay about $12000 in Medicare taxes, I then have to go to La Tiajuna Medicale to afford get my teeth fixed. I mean, dayum - does there exist a happy medium?

China, can we borrow a little more?

JimAtLaw said...

How many U.S. citizens die for lack of available organs?

How many die for lack of funding to pay for care on this scale?

How many U.S. families are bankrupted by hospitals who charge citizens for services that they provide to illegals for free?

This is sickening.

JohnDiddler said...

meanwhile, congress enjoys its second year of failing to renew Schedule A allocations for skilled, legal nurse immigration. it's not sensational enough to have an outraged lobby, until you get your hospital bill.