38 Thoughts to “Senator Menendez: Introduces “Detainee Basic Medical Care Act” , Upholding 8th Amendment”

  1. SecondAlamo

    Speaking of medical care, my daughter recently gave birth by cesarian operation and the medical bills totaled over $80,000. We don’t know yet how much they will have to pay after insurance coverage. They will raise the baby without assistance from the government, and pay their bills, all while struggling to pay the full mortgage. Now lets consider the same scenario with an illegal alien couple. First, they walk away from the medical bills without having to pay, then get rewarded by being allowed to stay in the country, and on top of that receive assistance from the government to raise the baby. And you want me to feel sorry for them! BS! They’ve got the best deal in town.

  2. Moon-howler

    What you just described happens with many people. To me it is a strong argument for some kind of universal health coverage. The situation is hardly unique to illegal immigrants.

  3. Dignidad

    SecondAlamo, it is a shame that people walk away from their bills like that. For any path to legalization they need to prove they paid for the birth of their children or be required to pay back the amount that was paid for them, as well as paying income taxes for all the years they have been here. As for the detention system, I think we always have to treat people with dignity, no matter what.

  4. SecondAlamo:

    They’ve got the best deal in town.

    You failed to notice that they have been run out of town…That’s how good they’ve got it…

  5. stw

    Mackie, 19. June 2008, 8:47

    Everyone makes choices. I’m so glad they made the choice to leave PWC.

  6. Just Cause

    I hear ya Second Alamo and I also want to point out to Moon-Howler that some legal us citizens might not have the ability to pay such a large bill and then are forced to walk away form it but I also want to point out that because they are in fact legal citizens, they are hunted down and their wages are garnished without warning…I have a young lady in my office who’s wages are being garnished from several years ago when she was forced to take her child to the emergency room cause he was having an epileptic seizure and she was a Temp employee with no insurance then..So not buying your excuse!

    Mackie- No one is running them out of town, they are leaving of their own free will because THEY want to avoid prosecution/deportation for breaking the LAW!!!!

  7. SecondAlamo


    You have NO reading comprehension, do you? It’s the content of the post that is the case. No matter where they go in the US they still will get support from folks like you while my family pays for it with our pay deductions that amount to over 1/3 of our gross. THAT is the penalty for being a legal US citizen, and having to support all those who skate on our dime. Even you, the bleeding hearts, have to pay for it as well. Perhaps you would like to pay my share as well. Of course you won’t, but you would if I was an illegal alien, how strange!

  8. Elena

    Second Alamo,
    Did you actuallly watch the video? This has nothing to do with labor and delivery or immigrants paying for voluntary medical care. I am not sure what hospital your daughter was in, but 80,000 for a c/s is not the norm, it is normally around between 8-10,000. The detainee act is to uphold the 8th amendment against “cruel and unusual punishment”. Please watch the video and then share your impression. The reason for the legislation is due to the abuses that detainees suffer while being held during their immigration proceedings. Do you believe that a a child brought here at the age of 10, being detained at an adult age, and then dying from cancer while incarcerated because they were refused basic medical care is constitutional? Do you believe that a woman escaping torture from Sierra Leone, detained in U.S. custody, subsequently drugged with Haldol, a drug that IS NOT supposed to be used unless you ACTUALLY suffer from a psychotic psychiatric disorder, is constitutional? Just because someone may be here without proper paper work, does NOT reduce them to less than a human being or have you forgotten these words “We Are All Created Equal”, not Americans are created equal, but ALL human beings. I am not arguing immigration law, I am arguing basic human rights Second Alamo.

  9. Elena

    Just Cause,
    Why don’t you expend your energy working towards universal healthcare instead of blaming illegal aliens for you this country’s ills. Hey, poor people get medicaid and don’t pay their “fair share”, and are supported by tax payers. Maybe we should deport them too. At one point in my life I also did not have insurance. I ended up in the hospital with a kidney stone, the hospital was more than willing to work out a very fair payment plan. I agree that everyone should pay for their medical care, but there are plenty of American citizens who end up filing for bankruptcy because their medical costs are so overwhelming, even after insurance! We all pay for a broken medical system and healthcare system.

  10. Amen Elena,

    I’d wonder how anyone can claim to be a true American when they sit back and accecpt that EVERYONE should pay $80,000 in medical bills!

    NO ONE should have to pay that, The Medical industry, as with just about every damn institution in this country, has to be reformed.

    It’s unchecked capitalism that’s ruining our quality of life, Illegal Immigration is just an easy excuse to remain submissive to Materalistic Slavery.

  11. Chris


    Amen the system is played by all. There are plenty of citizens on disability that we are all paying for. This too makes me ill. I know of two women get SS disability benefits. They aren’t able to apparently sit at a desk but they can go cross country in a car, amusement parks and ride roller coasters, etc. Geesh, that doesn’t add up to me.

    I too have been without insurance while working. It’s a frieghtening feeling. Hoping and praying you or your child don’t become ill or get injured. When you are self pay the doctors and hospitals are willing to work out some sort of payment arrangement. I do NOT want health care providers turning ANYONE away in need of medical attention. I do NOT approve of ER’s being treating like clinics or doctor office.

  12. SecondAlamo

    Who do you think is paying for all those child births to illegal aliens? The tooth fairy? No, it’s you and me, assuming you pay taxes. Sure many legal US citizens are supported by us, but why make it that much more of a burden by supporting those who should not even be in this country? Doesn’t that get through to any of you? The more support you give them, the faster they will illegally come here to receive it! Stop with the incentive program to non citizens. That money can certainly be used to reduce the cost to the tax payers.

    And Elena, I love it when you start bickering of my quoted medical costs instead of the fact that we pay and they don’t! That is the point, no matter what the cost.

  13. Elena

    But Second Alamo,
    80,000 dollars conjures up a much different fiscal picture than 8,000. I am not denying that our emergency rooms are misused, or that our hospital systems are abused by people, but I refuse to scapegoat undocumented workers as the primary offenders, and if only we could get rid of them, our medical system would be so much better off. Also, how do know that all those “illegals” never pay their bills? Now, I know Emma has given us some insight into her experiences at PW hospital, but does she also handle the hospital finances as a nurse?

  14. Elena

    I do not doubt that there are plenty of undocumented people that abuse the ER, but I also am sure there are plenty of Americans without health insurance that do also, about 46 million. I remember when I went to see a kidney specialist I filled out the office form and stated I had no insurance, hoping they would give me a break. Do you know they charged me the HIGHEST fee for a fifteen minute visit! It was 350.00 dollars, I couldn’t believe it! I had seen on the form where you can check limited visit, extended visit, and they checked of extended which clearly has the higher fee. This was 13 years ago, imagine what they charge now!

  15. Chris

    Yes, it’s very odd that they charge the self-paying the maximum. Meanwhile, the insurance companies and those with insurance get the same services at a much cheaper rate. My incident was about 11years ago. I did not doubt you knowing and understanding ALL take advantage of the system that want to.

  16. Elena

    I know Chris, that was why I was so shocked! My sister is without health insurance and it is scary, you just pray you won’t get sick!

  17. Just Cause

    Elena- The “poor” (as you refer) legal citizens have paid their fair share in Taxes so I have no issue with giving the “poor” a helping hand when needed. I wish USA would follow the foot steps of Canada when it comes to Medical coverage. ( Now I’m going to hear that you dont want the Government controling your health coverage yadda yadda)


    I am not blaming illegal aliens for this Countries ills, I am blaming them for the ills of PWC.

  18. Elena

    What’s the difference Just Cause, between blaming them for PWC and not the country as a whole? Why exclude them from the big picture if you include them for the little picture?

  19. SecondAlamo


    If faced with paying a multi-thousand dollar medical bill, or just walking away, which would you pick? As one other poster stated, they can walk away as they have done with their houses, and there aren’t any repercussions to them. If we did that we would be in a world of hurt. This is the unfairness that I see in the way things are going. It’s the view that we as legal citizens are only here to support all others. This has been brought on by political correctness, and the 40 years of being told that minorities deserve special treatment regardless of their economic status. Just the other day the WaPo had an article about the National Black Caucus complaining about the number of channels set aside for minorities in the XM/Sirius merger. Why are set asides still necessary to people who can afford to operate a radio station?

  20. Just Cause

    its kinda like the starfish story:

    May not matter to the entire Country, but it did matter to PWC….

  21. Moon-howler

    Just cause,

    My excuses? What on earth are you talking about? Why do you feel it necessary to turn my comment into an excuse?

    To quote myself:

    What you just described happens with many people. To me it is a strong argument for some kind of universal health coverage. The situation is hardly unique to illegal immigrants. text

    I am excusing no one nor am I making up excuses for anyone. Are you so naive as to think that only illegal aliens walk on hospital bills?

    By the way, it sounds like your ‘young lady at the office’ ignored some bills from the hospital where she took her kid. Most hospitals don’t turn your case into a garnishment unless you repeatedly ignore them. 5 bucks a month usually will keep the wolf from the door if that is the best you can do.

    Don’t you think it makes more sense to have some system in place for indigent people so people like SA’s daughter don’t have child birth bills for $80k? People with insurance are often footing the bills for those who have none and who are walking on their obligations. Not directly, but definitely indirectly.

  22. SecondAlamo

    Moon Howler just made my point. The ‘young lady’ is having her wages garnished yet that doesn’t happen with illegal aliens, so why? Because they are UNDOCUMENTED! No way to catch up with them easily, and they wouldn’t admit to being employed while being payed under the table in cash. No bank accounts that are traceable, hence PayDay Loans (for those payed by check).

  23. Just Cause

    Moon-howler- Please see SecondAlamo, 19. June 2008, 10:12 posts


    SecondAlamo, 19. June 2008, 10:12 post

  24. Rick Bentley

    The proof that we treat these people too well is obvious. They’ve streamed over the border eagerly and polls showed 50% of working-age people in Mexico giving serious consideration to following them over.

    So, yeah I’m for a little mistreatment. Not to the point of death but short of that, yeah. I like what Sherrif Joe does in Arizona – dresses them in pink, makes them work and live in tents. I’ll bet you most of Sherrif Joe’s detainees, after deportation, don’t come running back in right away.

  25. Moon-howler

    Just Cause, Is SA your talking head? Gainfully employed people have a lot to lose if they do not attend to their financial obligations. Who is arguing with that issue? My point is, many people who are NOT illegal immigrants also walk on hospital bills and houses. Illegal immigrants do not own this habit. Why can’t you simply admit that people of other ethnicities and having legal status also do this? Do you think I like that this happens?

    Just cause, I am still waiting for you to explain those excuses I was making. Guess I had better not hold my breath.

    How about universal health care so our premiums aren’t going to pad those who do not have coverage?

  26. Just Cause

    SA my talking head??? Sure. I like what SA writes and how eloquently the posts are.

    Your not getting my point!!!! If you are a legal citizen, chances of debt recovery is a much higher probability…ie Garnish of wages, Tax returns etc etc..if you are illegal, the probability is ZERO percent debt recovery..

    which leaves me, you, us to foot the bill!

    The “excuses” comment was incorrect, should of used the word Justify or denial or..

    How about FREE health care like Canada, paid for by our Government!

  27. Censored bybvbl

    Just Cause and SA, you’re making generalizations about who pays and who doesn’t. There’s no proof that all immigrants here illegally don’t pay. Similarly, all US citizens don’t pay. Just for you, Just Cause, another true story: a former neighbor of mine ended up in the ER without insurance. He works construction and underestimates his income on his taxes. So he paid the hospital substantially less than he could have paid.

    Both my husband and I have siblings who have filed for bankruptcy. They filed despite having good jobs and insurance. They spent beyond their means. You and I pick up the tab for that as well. I’d rather pick up the tab for hospital emergency trips by people (illegally here or US citizens) than pick it up for someone who wants an expensive car they can’t afford, designer clothes, and yearly trips to the islands.

    As for the detainees, they need to be provided with adequate medical care while they’re in custody. There’s no excuse for the traetment cited in the recent WaPo articles about their care.

  28. Mando

    I can’t view the video (at work) but I’m assuming the reference is to individuals detained becuase of their residency status?

    Well, if we know they’re illegal and they know we know, shouldn’t be that hard to get the country they claim citizenship to right? So just bill the govt. of that country for their citizens’ medical costs. If they don’t pay up, just subtract it from whatever aid we send them. I can’t think of a country that we don’t send aid to in one way or another. Hell, either we treat them here or we send treatment there. Make it all come out of the same bucket.

    The point is, we spend enough on citizens screwing the pooch. You’re going to have a hard time convincing most tax paying citizens we should also cover another country’s citizens screwing the pooch.

  29. SecondAlamo

    Just Cause,

    Great minds think alike! (Boy, that one’s going to get me in trouble.)

  30. Just Cause

    Censored- I think EVERYONE is guilty of generalizing everything. You say there isnt any proof that illegals arent paying, Well where is the proof that they are? Yep detainees need adequate medical care … BUT coming here illegally was risk they took…

  31. TH

    Do you have data to back up your comment that illegal aliens don’t pay their bills?
    Here is an interesting study that included more than 46,000
    “Increases in the use of hospital emergency departments (EDs) might contribute to crowding at some EDs, higher health care costs, and lower-quality primary care. This study examines the extent to which differences in populations and health system factors account for variations in ED use across U.S. communities. Contrary to popular perceptions, communities with high ED use have fewer numbers of uninsured, Hispanic, and noncitizen residents. Outpatient capacity constraints also contribute to high ED use. However, high ED use in some communities also likely reflects generic preferences for EDs as a source of care for nonurgent problems. [Health Affairs 25 (2006): w324–w336; 10.1377/hlthaff.25 .w324]”

  32. Mando

    Oh… universal health care is a nightmare. Not one country has implemented it succesfully. Nada. Zip. It’s a total mess. Unless you like getting on a waiting list for 6+ months (if you’re lucky) to get a tooth pulled and paying out the ace for the privelidge. No thanks. You’ll never, I repeat, NEVER, convince me universal healthcare is the answer.

    You think the wait in hospitals are bad here? Go to Canada. I have a few Canadien acquantances that had nothing but good things to say aboot their healthcare system… untill they had to use it. Put a zip-tie on the stump that was your arm and get a pillow. It’s going to be a long night.

  33. Marie

    Congratulations on the new grandchild. If your daughter has health insurance there is probably only a co-pay due. $80,000 sounds very high to me. My granddaughter was premature and had to stay in the hospital for 6 weeks. My daughter-in-law had a C section and the total bill for mother and child was about $47,000. Insurance paid all but the required co-payment.

    We definitely need some type of health care for all citizens. It should be affordable and everyone should be covered and for those who do not have the funds to pay then health care should be provided. I can not believe that the richest country in the world does not have some type of affordable health care. Poor people die because they can not afford treatment.

    It is a myth to believe that everyone can receive Medicaid. One must be permanently and totally disabled as determined by Social Security or over 65 to qualify. If over 65 then income is looked at as well. One may be categorically eligible but may not qualify for Medicaid until a spendown has been reached, which means so much has to be incurred in medical bills before the Medicaid kicks in. There is another category of Medicaid for children called FAMIS or CHIP which is also based on income. Children must be American citizens to be eligible. “Anchor” babies as some call them are eligible for Medicaid because they are citizens, but their parents must show proof of income and eligibility for the children is based on parents income. The parents are not eligible.
    There are other scenarios for Medicaid eligibility but they are complex and complicated. Undocumented are not eligible for Medicaid benefits and Social Services has ways to check status.

    Senator Menendez was introducing legislation to ensure that people incarcerated were receiving adequate health care and being treated humanely while in jail. I saw him give this speech and introduce the legislation. It has nothing to do with health care legislation for immigrants legal or otherwise. It has to do with the 8th Amendment rights of everyone who is in custody.

  34. amom

    At the Lynda Chavez meeting, the health care administrator for PWC Hospital gave a very moving presentation about how over 30% of the births at the hospital were for uninsured women who could not provide SS numbers, putting an incredible burden on the hospital. Most of the women had not received prenatal care and thus the costs were twice as high as a normal birth. At Potomac Hospital, the percentage of non paying patients in the birthing center was close to exceeding the number of paying patients.

    I’m sure that some of these women would pay if they could, but living hand to mouth, they don’t have the money to pay, which increases the burden on those who do pay.
    Of course we must provide medical treatment to those who needed, but to pretend that it doesn’t come at a great cost to others is dishonest.

  35. Elena

    Thank you for getting us back to the actual topic on the thread!

    Thank you for that recap of PWC and Potomac hospital. Schools and hospitals are the clearest burden that specific localities may have to bear, I have never denied that. I have suggested that the federal government bears some responsibility in helping cover those added costs. I do believe that we have a labor shortage, I do believe that these immigrants have helped rebuild this country in many areas like New Orleans, Mississippi, and Florida. It is no coincidence that our real estate boom also coincided with a dramatic increase of latino’s, who I am sure helped build many of the homes in Prince William County. Here we are now, what do we do, I do not pretend to hold the answers, but I do know that villifying an entire community is not the place to start. I am not suggesting that everyone has done that, but there is a clear message of hatred growing towards spanish speakers, it is encumbent upon us all to reject that rhetoric.

  36. Moon-howler


    I think you might have just written the most important piece on this entire blog.

    Most of us are not denying that illegal immigration brings in burdens to a community. We simply do not want an entire class of people swept up and vilified. Our local government has allowed that to happen and organizations in PW Co have propagated the sentiment that is it perfectly ok to make sweeping generalization about ‘illegals’ and to use that term interchangeably with Latinos.

    Most of us reject this behavior while acknowledging that there are community issues that need solutions.

    Hopefully Elena’s words have put this matter to rest and that we move forward with solutions rather than getting hung up over the minutia.

  37. Chris

    PW Hospital also said this..

    In 2006, the cost of services provided for free or at a reduced amount totaled more than
    $15 million. Also, In 2006, there were more than 56,000 visits to our ER, with 37% of them self-pay or Medicaid.

    Thanks for post. It promted me to dig up the presentation by Michael J. Schwartz, President/CEO of Prince William Health System on 12/14/07.

  38. Elena

    Wow, thank you Moon-howler, I appreciate your kinds words. Yes, lets move on to solutions, which clearly will be found at the federal level. Oh, I think I forgot to mention, the valedictorian from CA has been given a “stay of deportation” by Homeland Security until Senator Feinsteins private bill can make its way through the legislative process.

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