Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Undocumented and Health Care Reform

The unresolved immigration issue is complicating the move for health care reform. Theoretically, the undocumented ought not to have a right to health insurance, since they have not rights to work in this country But in reality about half are covered through employers. Insurance companies do not ask about status. Still 6.1 million of undocumented are without insurance and the number is growing quickly. That's one in five of the uninsured. Now the undocumented can get emergency treatment, which makes up 1 to 2 % of demand. Only in the borderland Southwest has this become a problem for hospitals. Most observers believe the undocumented do not generally cause an economic problem; rather it's more a political issue. (See National Public Radio report.)

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is under investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. This isn't the first time. He was investigated in the '90s for his treatment of inmates of the county jail. Those complaints he had denounced as politically motivated, as he does with this investigation. Now he refuses to co-operate, which includes his staff. The Justice Department will continue to talk to complainants, some of whom are Hispanic who object to his street weeps as racial profiling. (See Arizona Republic article.)

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