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Do Mexicans Cause the Closures of Hospitals?

Dear Mexican: Is Lou Dobbs right when he says that close to 80 hospitals in California have been closed because of the illegals, or is he lying? Cabrónes No Necesitamos

Dear CNN: Dobbs is right to a certain point, and only in spite of his idiocy. The father of two half-wabs spouted off his closed-hospitals claim at least three times: in a December 11, 2006, interview with Charlie Rose; an October 18, 2006, CNN broadcast (in which he incorrectly attributed the figure to a spring 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine); and a May 1, 2006, special on that year's amnesty marches. During that May special, Dobbs said, "Well, just for the record, it's about 60 hospitals and clinics in California have had to close [because of uninsured illegal aliens], and in Texas. This is not a new phenomenon, and it's just one of the hidden costs that the national, the mainstream news media, hidebound by political correctness, doesn't want to deal with."

Know Nothing blogs, radio bros and activists repeat Dobbs' assertion as gospel. Dobbs first discussed California's shuttered hospitals in a June 8, 2005, interview with Madeleine Cosman, who had just published "Illegal Aliens and American Medicine," an essay in the spring 2005 edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Dobbs identified her as a "leading medical attorney," but the Southern Poverty Law Center later exposed her as little more than a résumé-padding racist who once said of Mexican immigrants, "Most of these bastards molest girls under 12, though some specialize in boys, and some in nuns."

The loco-est part of this mess is that both Cosman and her parakeet Dobbs have their figures relatively right: According to the California Hospital Association (CHA), 82 hospitals in the Golden State folded from 1996 to 2006. But in an August interview with The New England Journal of Medicine, CHA's vice president of external affairs, Jan Emerson, noted, "It would not be fair to place the blame solely on undocumented immigrants, but certainly, they are a contributing factor." The article by contributing editor Susan Okie, M.D., also revealed that illegals make up only about 20 percent of the country's residents who lack medical insurance and about 10 percent of the "uncompensated care in California hospitals."


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