Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Health Care for Undocumented Varies State to State

A LA Times article reported on the varying provision of health care to the undocumented across the country. Federal law demands that all states provide care in "emergencies", but that's defined so vaguely that each state seems free to interpret the obligation as it sees fit. Using the example of kidney dialysis, the Times found that in California and a few other states this is routinely provided -- even Kidney transplants. The federal government through emergency Medicaid pays part of the cost. In other states patients wait till near death before going to an ER for emergency dialysis. In some states, however, practice may vary. Texas does not provide for routine dialysis, but Houston does using local tax dollars. It's no mystery why some states deny routine medical care to the undocumented -- they don't belong here and medical care would attract more. But the economics of the issue seems to favor routine care, since it's cheaper to deal with ailments of the undocumented routinely than in an ER.

Undocumented Guatemalan immigrants seemed to have become easy targets to muggers. On weekends, just have cashing paychecks. they are accosted in the streets and asked to turn over their money. The muggers act with impunity, since they know their victims will not go to the police. Both the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Phoenix Police have signed agreements with ICE to share information on the undocumented that are detained for criminal acts. No telling what Sheriff Joe Apraio would do, but the Phoenix police say they do not share information on crime victims. The message either hasn't go through or is not believed. (See Arizona Republic article.)

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