Barring illegal from insurance benefits doesn't bar them from receiving treatment in a hospital emergency room. ERs have become the place of treatment of last resort for too many people here legally or illegally. T.R. Reid tells of a dramatic case in his book "The Healing of America." Nikki White lost her job and health insurance as a result of having a type of lupus. Because of her pre-existing condition, she couldn't get new health insurance. Eventually, she collapsed and was taken to the emergency room. Three doctors undertook to treat her until her condition stabilized. That involved six months in critical care and 25 surgical operations. Then she went home, still without insurance, and died at the age of 32. Her doctor, Amylyn Crawford, said: Nikki died of complications of the failing American health care system.What Schorr didn't tell NPR listeners is that T.R. Reid, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Washington Post is such a thoroughgoing socialist that he removed his name with a harrumph from a PBS Frontline documentary  this spring because it wasn't harshly biased enough against private health insurers.
It becomes clear that a universal system of health insurance would save many lives, and it might help to sustain hospitals whose emergency rooms are coming under increasing pressure as unemployment swells the rolls of Americans without insurance. Maybe our legislators should stop worrying about the scattering of illegals who may get unauthorized treatment and think of the millions who can't afford to get authorized treatment.
-Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.