Nothing but the Truth!
By Will Power
December 16, 2010 (San Diego)--While thousands of illegal immigrant mothers wade the Rio Grande in January to see their children become US citizens, US health insurance companies are refusing to cover the birth of legitimate US citizens because it may cost too much.
In California, only 20% of private health insurance companies cover childbirth. This means parents often must pay out-of-pocket if their are simple complications like premature birth or a c-section. Often young families are in no position to afford such sudden , unexpected costs. And while children of illegal immigrants are born in public hospitals paid for by the taxpayer, the children of real US citizens get stuck with huge bills. What's worse, for the entire US , only 13% of babies have coverage! (LA Times Dec 12, 2010)
This is unconscionable or many levels. Health Insurance companies scream for tort reform, as it is the one in a thousand tragic accident and subsequent lawsuit that scares insurers. But birth is a normal event. Birth is subject to the same laws of probability that all medical emergencies fall under. It is profit, not mathematics, that is driving the insurance companies.
Big Health Insurance would rather see thousands of babies born without coverage than have a single high-risk event ruin their profits.
If the new Health Insurance Bill does not correct this outrageous neglect, then rightly the bill should be declared unconstitutional on its face. How can the richest nation in the world turn its back on its future?
Will Power is a retired history teacher and creative writing instructor. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.