The Corner

The one and only.

Serving the World’s Poor


Good grief! — the New York Times has used the phrase “illegal immigrants”! In a headline! On the front page!!

The story itself bears reading. Illegal immigrants facing kidney failure need regular dialysis treatments costing $50,000 a year.

And so they turned to Grady [Memorial Hospital in Atlanta], a taxpayer-supported safety-net hospital that would provide dialysis to anyone in need, even illegal immigrants with no insurance or ability to pay …

On Oct. 4 … the strapped public hospital closed its outpatient dialysis clinic, leaving 51 patients — almost all illegal immigrants — in a life-or-death limbo.

For Grady, which has served Atlanta’s poor for 117 years, it was an excruciating choice, a stark reflection of what happens when the country’s inadequate health care system confronts its defective immigration policy.

It doesn’t seem fair to use “taxpayer-supported” Grady’s inability to service all the world’s poor as reflecting “inadequacies” in our health-care system. And while one naturally has sympathy for these unfortunate patients, it also seems unfair to privilege them over the hundreds of millions of other people around the world who can’t afford U.S.-quality health care.

If you take the point of view — a reasonable one, I think — that: “Yes, but they’re here and we must do something for them,” here’s a humane suggestion. Ship them back to their home countries along with some dialysis machines. Without all the high overhead costs of U.S. health care, the home countries could probably treat these people much more cheaply.