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The Domestic and International Ethical Debate on Rationing Care of Illegal Immigrants

Brandon Sultan
The millions of illegal immigrants in the United States have created a significant burden on the country's healthcare system. The passage of the Affordable Care Act will lead to a significant reduction in uncompensated care this year, which will force hospitals to ration, and perhaps ultimately limit or stop, care of illegal immigrants.[1] This issue is even greater on a global scale. As medical tourism in Europe increases, healthcare costs in Europe will increase as well. European Countries
more » ... ropean Countries may have to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. and limit treatment for illegal immigrants. Thus, debate about whether to limit illegal immigrant healthcare services in the U.S. may serve as a model for future debate and policy in Europe. Regulations on Hospitals: The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals that receive Medicaid funding to provide any patient with emergency medical care. It does not matter whether a patient is uninsured, in the country illegally, or unable to pay for care- hospitals have to treat them.[2] Under EMTALA hospitals are required to provide two types of services. The first is a free medical screening examination to determine the type of care needed. Then, based on the evaluation, the second is treatment to stabilize patients with an emergency condition. Heart attacks, severe bleeding, and asthma attacks are examples of services mandated under EMTALA. Life-preserving treatment that is not urgent, such as chemotherapy, is not covered. Traditionally, uninsured or undocumented individuals have received additional services from hospitals. Low-cost clinical care is an example of non-urgent medical care that hospitals sometimes provide if patients are uninsured and can't pay. The costs incurred by the hospital traditionally have been offset by Disproportionate Share Hospital funds (DSH) and, to a lesser extent, donations from charities and non-profits. DSH funds are federal funds given to hospitals to support uncompensated care. However, many times DSH funds are not su [...]
doi:10.7916/vib.v1i.6477 fatcat:boufjwmv7bhlvkrn3iooftc2ta