Jenkins: Simple solution to Parkland Hospital's budget deficit

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is weighing in on the larger problem that led to a young man initially being denied life-saving surgery from Parkland Hospital.

After FOX 4 News started asking questions, Parkland later granted that surgery. This year, Parkland has a $45 million budget deficit. A big reason for it is people from Collin and Denton counties going there for treatment.

While it is a complex problem, Jenkins says the solution is actually simple.

Even though his arm and shoulder were removed, 20-year-old Pablo Perez is thankful.

“I’m really, really happy that I'm here. I'm still living,” he said.

A month ago, Perez had a tumor the size of a melon. He is an illegal immigrant brought to America by his parents when he was 2. His parents have since died.

His brother, Miguel, and his wife, Brittany Cravens, made it their mission to find someone who would remove the tumor. But with no health insurance, door after door was shut on them as the tumor continued to grow.

"I realized I might just die,” Perez said.

After Parkland canceled surgery to remove the tumor, Brittany's mom reached out FOX 4. After we called the hospital, administrators approved Perez's surgery.

"The turning point was when you guys got involved,” Perez said.

“That was the first time since I found out about this that I could breathe, that we found hope,” Brittany said.

Parkland explained that the surgery was initially denied because Perez could not prove he was a Dallas County resident. The hospital works to strictly enforce its residency requirements because it's seen a 72 percent increase in patients coming from other counties in the past five years. The patients are going to Parkland because they can't get treatment in their counties' private hospitals.

"We get patients at Parkland with a Google Map from another county hospital in another county,” Jenkins said. “We know exactly where they came from. They don't live at the hospital."

The Dallas County judge says there is one way to solve the problem. Texas lawmakers could accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars provided by Obamacare, which would provide hundreds of millions of healthcare dollars for the working poor.

"This is your money that comes out of your purse when you paid your federal income tax,” Jenkins said. “We're just asking for us to get our portion back."

FOX 4 asked Senator Don Huffines why he has opposed Texas accepting the federal tax dollars. He said, “There's no such thing as free money. At more than $19.8 trillion, our national debt is unsustainable and accepting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would make Texas complicit in growing that burden on future generations."

Huffines added that the federal government should give Texas a block grant program so it can develop a program that is better than Medicaid based on the free market.

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