My friends, a South Florida jury delivered a huge dose of health care reform. The case involved the tragedy of Luis Jimenez –a day laborer and illegal immigrant from Guatemala. Jimenez was in a van struck by a drunk driver nine years ago. The accident left him a paraplegic with the cognitive abilities of a fourth grader. Like all who require emergency medical help,he was treated –no questions asked –at Martin Memorial in Stuart, Florida. He would spend three years thereat tremendous cost because no other facility would take him ingiven his illegal status, inability to pay, and federal regulations.
After receiving backing from the Guatemalan government and a court order from a Florida judge (which was later overturned), the hospital chartered a plane and returned Jimenez to his home country.Thencame the lawsuit. A family member here sued the hospital,seeking a million dollars for Jimenez’s future medical expenses — in Guatemala.And they wanted punitive damages for “unlawfully detaining” him on the flight homein order to discourage other hospitals from “deporting” illegal immigrants who can’t paybut rack up millions in bills.
The jury found, unanimously, that Martin Memorial did not act unreasonably. For obvious reasons, this case was watched closely by the health care industry.Butnot one part of the Democrats’ health care takeoveraddresses the impact of illegal aliens on our health care system…and for very obvious reasons: they will someday vote.
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