CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta argued that taxpayers will save money by spending more dollars on more frequent treatments for an expensive medical condition suffered by thousands of illegal immigrants.
He also complained that illegal immigrants are not getting treatment fast enough because they cannot afford to pay. But, he acknowledged they are getting the treatment.
The network’s chief medical correspondent co-authored an article published on CNN’s website on Thursday using the example of a 51-year-old woman in the country illegally who is experiencing kidney failure due to her Type 2 diabetes.
Gupta said the woman cannot afford to pay for treatment, can’t afford private health insurance, and, as an illegal immigrant, she is not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
But, he acknowledged, she is getting treatment under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. The doctor explained, “The 1986 law compels hospitals with emergency rooms to care for anyone and everyone whose life is in imminent danger, regardless of their citizenship status or ability to pay.”
And she’s not alone. According to Gupta, the woman is only one of an estimated 6,500 illegal immigrants with end-stage renal disease, which requires ongoing kidney dialysis.
And it’s not cheap. The CNN doctor cited a 2007 Baylor College of Medicine study that found the emergency-only dialysis treatment she is receiving costs $285,000 per year. The study claimed the cost would be only $77,000 a year if she received the treatment more often, as is standard for people covered by health insurance or Medicare or Medicaid.
That’s how Gupta concluded that by having taxpayers spend more dollars for more treatments for illegal immigrants, it will save money:
“Some states, including California, New York, North Carolina and Washington, have initiated programs and set aside funds to provide standard dialysis to undocumented immigrants who need it — before they are in critical condition. Not only is this type of treatment more manageable for patients, studies have shown that it saves the government and taxpayers a significant amount of money.”