- Dec 2014
- The Milky Way
The total is obviously enough to pay for a border wall.
The cost of the border wall has been projected by numerous entities, and the estimates vary wildly. The Trump administration and the GOP congressional leadership have estimated its cost at $12 billion to $15 billion. Senate Democrats claim that the price tag would be $67 billion. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has projected the cost at $21.6 billion. Going with the Trump administration figure, the savings to our health care system should pay for the thing in a decade. Using the DHS figure, it will take far less time than a typical mortgage. Specifically, about 20 years.
This depends on what we pay for the health care we provide to illegal immigrants and how many will be stopped by the wall. Neither of these figures is easy to calculate, but it’s clear that most estimates we see in the media understate both. To hit the payoff goals noted above we would need to stop 500,000 people per year from illegally entering the country and eliminate an equal number from the Medicaid and Obamacare rolls. That would save $1.3 billion annually in medical costs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, we spend nearly twice that on illegal aliens for emergency Medicaid alone:
Federal law generally bars illegal immigrants from being covered by Medicaid. But a little-known part of the state-federal health insurance program for the poor has long paid about $2 billion a year for emergency treatment for a group of patients who, according to hospitals, mostly comprise illegal immigrants.
Most of this money pays for delivering babies when patients materialize in emergency rooms in active labor. Pursuant to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), all hospitals must provide emergency medical treatment to all comers regardless of ability to pay or any other consideration. It is common for women of obviously foreign descent and no English to appear in ERs just as they are about to give birth. Hospitals cannot turn them away (and wouldn’t do so if they could). Medicaid retroactively covers them and pays some of the treatment costs.
Another potential source of health care savings that could go toward the wall is the taxpayer money that now goes to illegal immigrants, under the radar, pursuant to the skulduggery of state and local Democrats who deliberately circumvent the federal government’s ostensible ban on funding such medical services. In 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that 80 percent of the counties with the highest number of illegal immigrants provide them “free” health care services, including surgery and prescription drugs. Extrapolated across the nation, this amounts to billions of dollars in care.