Denver Hospital Struggles Amid Rising Illegal Immigrant Healthcare Costs

Denver Health, Colorado’s largest “safety net” hospital, is on the brink of financial collapse. The institution is grappling with a staggering $136 million in unpaid healthcare bills in 2023 alone, primarily incurred by illegal immigrants and homeless populations. This alarming situation raises critical questions about the sustainability of healthcare systems in the face of unchecked immigration stemming from Joe Biden’s open borders policies.

Since Biden assumed office in the White House, Denver has witnessed a marked increase in the number of illegal immigrants entering the city, coinciding with soaring healthcare costs at Denver Health. From a manageable $60 million in 2020, the unpaid care costs more than doubled to $125 million in 2022, escalating further to $136 million in 2023. This surge parallels the city’s influx of 8,000 new patients from South and Central America last year, contributing to 20,000 additional hospital visits.

Dr. Steven Federico, Denver Health’s Chief Government and Community Affairs Officer, notes the acute healthcare needs of these immigrants, including dental emergencies and mental health counseling. CEO Donna Lynne expressed deep concern to the Denver City Council, stating, “It’s heartbreaking, it’s going to break Denver Health.”

While Denver Health narrowly avoided a deficit in 2023, courtesy of state donations and funding from Kaiser Permanente, that type of charitable assistance is not a sustainable solution. The hospital has already implemented cost-cutting measures, such as reducing staff raises, delaying facility renovations and closing psychiatric treatment beds. Yet, these actions substantially diminishing the healthcare services available to citizens are merely stopgaps in the face of a looming financial precipice.

The crisis at Denver Health is not isolated. The broader context reveals a dire situation exacerbated by federal policies that have failed to address the core issue of the healthcare needs of unemployed and dependent illegal immigrants. Federal regulations mandate emergency healthcare provision, but they do not compensate hospitals adequately for the unprecedented surge of illegals now flooding the nation and demanding public support.

Programs like Colorado’s OmniSalud, which provides health insurance to undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients, are steps in the right direction. However, they are insufficient in the face of rapidly escalating healthcare demands.

As Denver Health’s CEO Lynne emphasized, the hospital is at a “critical point.” The time to address this issue is now — before the healthcare system reaches an irreversible breaking point.