Hal Netkin
POB 3465
Van Nuys, CA 91405

Governor Gray Davis
State Capital Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

October 10, 2002

Dear Governor Davis

I was triggered to write this letter when I read this morning's Daily News article entitled "Poverty Soars 56% in Valley" (article dated Tuesday, September 25, 2002, -- copy enclosed). It reminded me that Zev Yaroslavsky is in no small way responsible for virtually importing this poverty to Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

I am retired at age 66 on a fixed income. My medical expenses are covered by the Veteran's Administration and our three county adopted daughters ages 3, 4, and 8, have 100 percent dental and medical expenses covered by MediCal (same as MedicAid). But my wife of ten years, an immigrant from Mexico (now a proud U.S. citizen) does not have any medical coverage.

Last year, my wife had to have surgery. Not being covered by any health plan, she went to one of the county clinics (now being closed down), and was transferred to Olive View County Hospital for the operation. But before being admitted, we had to undergo a series of interviews by several case workers to determine my wife's eligibility to receive free or discounted medical aid.

The case worker asked us questions and jotted down the answers to a mountain of forms. We had to produce a myriad of original documents including: four months of banks statements from our checking account, court adoption papers for our children, title to our home, title to our car, proof of citizenship for my wife, birth certificates for all five of us, and many more. In the end, we were approved for a reduced fee which amounted to about $600 which we paid.

During the interview with one of  the case workers, I leaned over to her and asked in a quiet voice if she asked the same questions of all those other people (I pointed to a large number of non-English speaking people). The case worker turned to me and said candidly that county case workers don't ask them those questions because they are undocumented and can't produce the needed documents, adding that she doesn't even know if they are giving their right names. This outraged me. Illegals are being rewarded for not being able to produce the documents that U.S. citizens must. I commented to my wife later, that to avoid all the red-tape and the $600 expense, she should have gone in for care disguised as an unmarried illegal alien.

In 1995, the Los Angeles County Health System was on the verge of bankruptcy. No major news media ever included in their columns at the time, nor do they now, what was causing the health system breakdown. In the September 14, 1995, issue of the L.A. Times it said that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors were in trouble with the county's health system and they were on their knees for a federal bailout. The Times article said further that "federal authorities are adamant that no federal funds should be used for most non-emergency treatment of illegal immigrants--a sticking point for county officials."

But the county officials were so determined to continue to provide free services to people who have entered the U.S. illegally, that they poo-pooed the Feds about the risk of losing federal funds and the health risk of legal U.S. residents -- but the feds bailed them out anyway. That 1995 Federal bailout was the first of two, the last one was in 2000. Now the county supervisors need another bailout.

In 1995, I predicted that if Los Angeles continued to provide illegal aliens with free medical services, their numbers would increase and there would ultimately be another county health system breakdown within five years. Then, like clock work, in June of 2000, the breakdown I predicted happened!  The feds bailed L.A. County's heath system out for the second time. Again I predicted another breakdown within five years (by 2005). I was wrong, it happened in only two years as is evident by the request by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molinas for another bailout.

Here it is just over two years from Yaroslavsky's 2000 bailout, and the county needs a third bailout. But neither California nor the Feds are up to it, so Yaroslavsky and Molina is up to his their tricks again, but this time they want to con the state voters for the money.

When Zev Yaroslavsky, one of the movers and shakers of this latest bailout request was asked by talk-show host Larry Elder on May 30, 2002, whether the county health system's funding was being drained by foreign nationals who, either arrive by tourist visa or illegally immigrate to Los Angeles, take advantage of free maternal, pediatric, and general health-care, Zev replied that at one time this used to be a problem but isn't anymore. What planet is Zev on?

Yaroslavsky is either in deep denial, suffers from acute naivety, or is just plain untruthful. What Zev forgot to tell Elder, was that not only does the county give free medical care to illegal aliens who happen to ask for it, but the county actually has an outreach health-care program targeting illegal immigrants. You heard me right -- the county advertises free medical services to illegal immigrants. This is made clear by the many county billboards and signs on the back of buses, encouraging illegals to take advantage of the county's health care (at property owner's expense). The signs which picture happy children, say In Spanish, Good news for immigrant families! your family is eligible for health and nutrition programs free or below cost! and the use of this service is not effected by your immigration status.

Most voters like immigrants and would gladly submit to a one time tax fix to solve the problem, but most voters also know that the county's health-care "outreach" policy to illegal immigrants is a magnet which attracts record numbers more of them, exacerbating the problem.

It is clear that L.A. county's health-care system is in an irreversible meltdown. The county supervisors who believe that taxing property owners "just this one time" is the answer, need to hit bottom like a drunk does before they do something about breaking their drinking addiction. The county supervisors must hit bottom before they will break their "tax and spend" addiction. And the only way that will happen is if the voters refuse to vote for more taxes.

Trauma health service costs should of course be picked up by the county for all of the county's residents, legal or not, but the general health-care needs of foreign nationals residing illegally in the county should be supported by charities. In this way, the money saved could be used to save the trauma centers.

Don't be fooled by Zev.


Hal Netkin

CC: Zev Yaroslavsky