Medicaid, because it is administered by states, doesn't necessarily define "stabilized" that precisely. Courts, too, have gotten involved in the definition. The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that Medicaid should compensate a hospital not only for surgery for cancer of the spine, but for chemotherapy treatments for the next month. The chemotherapy claim had been denied on the ground that the surgery had stabilized the patient, but the court said the patient's health could have seriously deteriorated without the chemotherapy. (www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/opinions/2004/020557-1.htm) (This is not a case of "judicial activism", where courts create new laws contrary to the clear intent of legitimate lawmakers. This is a case of a vague law, which lawmakers, prompted by voters, have the power to clarify, if they don't like the court's interpretation.)
Obviously it is a difficult decision for a doctor to send a patient back to die in Mexico, where the care necessary to save the patient's life simply isn't available. Sympathetic American doctors help because they are decent human beings. Individual physicians, hospitals, counties or states usually choose to give more care than the fed requires or pays for. In Des Moines, doctors are "on rotation" (systematically taking turns) caring for those who cannot pay, including undocumented immigrants.
If you believe in your heart that noncitizens should be turned out to die, before a penny of taxpayers' money is spent on them, you should lobby your lawmakers to repeal the law requiring emergency room care. But you should know that citizens, too, would have their emergency room care delayed until their citizenship could be documented.
Also you should know that Medicare, Social Security, and the IRS get "well in excess of" a $9.5 billion annual windfall from payroll taxes paid by unauthorized workers, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report released August 25, 2004!
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