Fifty-one people -- nearly all illegal immigrants -- are facing a "life-or-death limbo" after a cash-strapped Atlanta charity hospital decided it must stop providing them free kidney dialysis treatments that were costing the hospital (or rather taxpayers) $50,000 per year.
That's according to a heart-rending article in Saturday's New York Times about the “excruciating choices” faced by Atlanta's Grady hospital upon closing its outpatient dialysis unit. Over the years, the unit has been overrun by illegal immigrants, and it has thus become a major financial drain on the “taxpayer-supported safety-net hospital,” the Times explained in its lengthy article: "The Breaking Point: Hospital Falters as Refuge for Illegal Immigrants."
Who is to blame for this heart breaking situation?
Not surprisingly, the Times blames America's heartless polices on health care and immigration. Or as the paper explains, the moral dilemma Grady has faced is “a stark reflection of what happens when the country’s inadequate health care system confronts its defective immigration policy.”
Interestingly, though, the Times' mentions nothing about the responsibility of Mexico's government toward its own citizens, whom it all but encourages to immigrate illegally to this country. (Most of the illegal immigrants at Grady appear to have been from Mexico.)
Nor is there any suggestion that Mexico's richest taxpayers, men like Carlos Slim – the world's richest man and a major Times shareholder) -- ought to part with a tiny fraction of their fortunes (Slim's worth $59 billion) to help with the dialysis treatments of their fellow Mexicans. Couldn't some of Mexico's vast oil revenues also help pay for the dialysis treatments?
Grady, for its part, has been in quite a moral quandary over its responsibility to the illegal immigrants. Upon closing its dialysis unit, it has gone onto spend tens of thousands of dollars per patient to pay for their dialysis elsewhere -- and to even cover travel expenses to Mexico. However, hospital spokesmen all but acknowledge that at some point in the near future the funds will not be available to pay for dialysis. What's more, it seems unlikely that these patients will be getting free dialysis back in Mexico.
That Mexico's own government (and its richest citizens) are apparently unwilling to chip in to provide such care is interesting in one respect. In the past, Mexican officials have been full of outrage when one of their citizens in America has been sentenced to death -- following a murder trial in which local authorities failed to notify Mexico's consular officials that a Mexican citizen was arrested for murder.
In fact, Mexico appears to have used all its resources available -- even going to international courts -- to obtain justice for these criminals. Yet when it comes to poor Mexicans needing health care, neither Mexico's government – nor its richest citizens – are anywhere to be found. The Times makes no effort to find them for comment, either.
Could it all be a reflection of Carlo Slim's influence at the self-described “paper of record”? While an intriguing possibility, these omissions probably have more to do with the particular worldview embraced by the Times -- one that blames America for the world's problems, including a lack of free dialysis clinics for illegal immigrants.