Part of the problem in dealing with the cost of treating illegal aliens is the slippery statistical slope.
There are at least 4 million illegal aliens spread across the country, with most of them in California, Florida, New York and Texas. Even under a reformed healthcare system, some $3 billion a year will be required to treat those who will slip between the cracks. Or so the studies say. Nobody really knows for sure about the numbers and the costs.
But we do know that lawsuits, barbed wire and armed guards haven't been effective in stopping the flow of illegal aliens across the border. Some of them enter America just for free healthcare. As an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union noted in our July 4 cover story: "Germs don't question a person's immigration status."
Neither should hospital administrators. Under the Clinton vision of healthcare, we cringe at the thought of what the admitting office is supposed to do if a sick person shows up without a Health Security Card. In addition to providing care, serving the community and educating the public on matters of health, does the federal government want hospital personnel to function as quasi-cops?