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Foreigners' Effect on County Health Care

June 11, 2003

"Drawing a Health-Care Line" (editorial, June 7) informs us that L.A. County has begun refusing treatment to uninsured people from outside the county because the cost of doing so, on top of the cost of providing for the county's own, has "left the county's health-care system teetering on the edge of collapse." The editorial acknowledges the need for "recogniz[ing] borders," points out the problem of "patient-dumping" and recommends sending a "message to Sacramento and Washington that this crisis demands a state and federal solution."

I'm sure many readers see this editorial as a parable, one about illegal immigration and the burden placed upon the U.S. by other countries dumping their poor. The solution offered is correct; we need to send a message to Sacramento and Washington that this is a crisis, and we are being overwhelmed.

Tim Aaronson

El Cerrito, Calif.

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One tactic to be considered, since many of those being treated without reimbursement are here from other nations, would be to petition those nations for reimbursement for the health care of their citizens. Why not?

Tom Sleckman

San Francisco

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