NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 3, 2005

The flood of illegal aliens coming into the United States is forcing the closure of hospitals, spreading previously vanquished diseases and threatening America's health care system, according to a report in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Researchers found that some 60 California hospitals closed their doors between 1993 and 2003 and another 24 are on the verge of closure largely because of uncompensated medical costs due to the required treatment of any illegal alien who makes it into an emergency room.

The cost of illegal alien health care is enormous and crippling U.S. hospitals, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

  • During 2002, 38 Arizona medical centers surveyed by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare association reported losses on foreign-national patients of $153 million.
  • About 15 percent of patients at Copper Queen Hospital in Bisbee, Ariz., are poor Mexican nationals and to compensate for the cost of treating them, the hospital laid off 35 of its 130 employees and eliminated medical services such as the long-term care center and the maternity ward.
  • University Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in Tucson with the only trauma center near the border, will spend an estimated $12 million this year on unreimbursed emergency care for foreign nationals.
  • The Cochise County, Ariz., Health Department spends as much as 30 percent of its annual budget on illegal aliens.

Faced with what is becoming a national medical emergency caused largely by borders it has failed to secure, the federal government announced a plan to reimburse hospitals for up to 30 percent of their unpaid bills for such care through 2008.

But even that plan may have the perverse effect of attracting even more illegals, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, ?The Non-English Patient,? Investor?s Business Daily, June 2, 2005 and Madeleine Pelner Cosman, "Illegal Aliens and American Medicine: The Seen and the Unseen," Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Spring 2005.

For Cosman text:


Browse more articles on Government Issues