In April the Centers for Disease Control warned health officials in Florida about an outbreak of tuberculosis in Jacksonville.
Most developed countries don’t have a high incidence of TB, but travelers and others coming to the U.S. may bring the disease with them if they’re from a high incidence country.
The Palm Beach Post said the CDC warning found:
…3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails. Yet only 253 people had been found and evaluated for TB infection, meaning Florida’s outbreak was, and is, far from contained.
Prior to the warning, Florida’s state government had decided to close the sole tuberculosis hospital. Whether the warning would have impacted the decision no one knows, but the biggest problem isn’t finding a facility to treat the critically ill. The biggest problem is making sure those who have TB take the medications properly. In some cases, a nurse has to show up to watch the patient take the meds.
In 2008 the CDC did a study “Trends in Tuberculosis—United States.” CDC found:
In 2008, the TB rate in foreign-born persons in the United States was 10 times higher than in U.S.-born persons. TB rates among Hispanics and blacks were nearly eight times higher than among non-Hispanic whites, and rates among Asians were nearly 23 times higher than among non-Hispanic whites. In 2008, among persons with TB whose country of origin was known, approximately 95% of Asians, 76% of Hispanics, 32% of blacks, and 18% of whites were foreign born. Among U.S.-born racial and ethnic groups, the greatest racial disparity in TB rates was for U.S.-born blacks, whose rate was seven times higher than the rate for U.S.-born whites.
The National Center for Policy Analysis took a look at TB rates in another large state, California, in 2005. The study considered 38,291 reported tuberculosis cases in the state over a 9 year period.
•Of those, 407 were classified as drug-resistant and were found mostly in patients from Mexico or the Philippines.
•Some 84 percent of patients infected with MDR-TB were foreign born and those infected are four times as likely to die from the disease and twice as likely to transmit the disease to others than other tuberculosis patients.
The Post described the population with TB in Jacksonville as “itinerant homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill people…”
Here’s the issue no one talks about at the federal level when it comes to healthcare. The paper said:
At that point, a disease that can cost $500 to overcome grows exponentially more costly. The average cost to treat a drug-resistant strain is more than $275,000, requiring up to two years on medications. For this reason, the state pays for public health nurses to go to the home of a person with TB every day to observe them taking their medications.
Do you suppose the IRS health cops President Barack Obama’s health tax bill provides for will head to the boondocks to bust and fine homeless people who are U.S. citizens or immigrants for not having health insurance?
Meanwhile, those in the country illegally will get a pass from Obama’s healthcare tax, but they’ll get treatment just the same.
Not a single reporter, Left or Right, has asked Obama about the impact of illegal aliens on U.S. healthcare costs. Obviously, they've all missed the boat on that driver of costs.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 9, 2012)
Related at The US Report
Related on the Web
Persistent High Incidence of Tuberculosis in Immigrants in a Low-Incidence Country (Centers for Disease Control)
Who Are the Uninsured? (Cato)