February 14, 2011

Arizona--Accessory Before the Fact

Proof positive of what happens when the inmates run the asylum.

This is a small blurb on the front of the Valley & State section of the Arizona Republic this morning.

Hearing set on bill requiring hospitals to check patients' immigration status


Senate Bill 1405 would require hospitals to confirm an individual is a legal resident before admitting him or her for non-emergency care. The hospital would have to notify federal immigration officers if the individual was not in the country legally. The bill would allow hospitals to provide emergency care to illegal immigrants, but it would require them to report the individuals once the care was completed.

You know, for a state that is constantly bitching about unfunded federal mandates, they're not shy about burdening state employees with an unfunded (and unethical and immoral, as far as I'm concerned) mandate of their own. Hospitals will have to hire and/or train people to investigate immigration status, which they should not be involved with. Can you imagine an emergency-room doctor telling his sick or dying patients that once he's finished treating them, he's going to report them to the Feds?

That's assuming the sick or dying patients are even there in the first place, which is the real rub--and I assume, the ultimate goal of this inhumane legislation. After all, if undocumented immigrants know they're going to be reported if they go to the emergency room, they just won't go. Which means, for all practical purposes, that they will die, since the emergency room is often their only source of health care.

(And please, don't hand me the ridiculous canard about "what part of illegal don't you understand?" Even if you believe that, I assume--although it's probably not wise to do that nowadays, especially in this state--you just want undocumented people to leave. You don't want to kill them.)

(Notice the phrasing I used there? Unlike the Arizona legislature, Governor Jan Brewer, and most Republicans in general, I believe undocumented people are still people, with basic human rights. This includes the right not to die in the street.)

It also occurs to me that this is an attempted end run around the federal law EMTALA, which mandates emergency-room care for all. One can only imagine Russell Pearce and co-horts rubbing their hands together and cackling as they contemplate all the money they'll be saving by not having to treat those pesky brown people.

"Hey, Governor Brewer! Here's a few million dollars we didn't spend to save Hispanic lives, that you can use to finance more corporate tax cuts!"

The hearing on this bill is at 2 PM today in Senate Hearing Room 1, 1700 W. Washington St, Phoenix, Arizona. Please, somebody, show up and protest this monstrosity.

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