Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Undocumented and Health Care Reform

Under every scheme for health care reform, health insurance coverage to the undocumented immigrant would be denied. They will still qualify for emergency room care and in same states their children -- even those brought here illegally -- might qualify for some care. Health care advocates have made a point of informing people that the undocumented do not qualify -- even the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They don't want to jeopardize passage of health care reform. The nativist groups otherwise would be quick to pounce on the issue. NumbersUSA claims any inclusion of the undocumented would be incentive to sick Mexicans and Chinese to storm the U.S. border in search of care. But excluding the undocumented, however politically astute, is medically folly. Disease knows no borders. At least some diseases have to be monitored. Doing that through emergency rooms is going to create its own set of burdens, especially in California and the Southwest. The Los Angeles Times tells the story of one undocumented youth who manages to get some care in Chicago for his kidney ailment. It also tells of the plight of other immigrants dealing with serious health problems for whom returning to Mexico is no realistic option.

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