Health Insurance for Hispanic Illegals Looks Bleak

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The answer seems clear: when President Obama was asked by CBS News’ Katie Couric whether illegal immigrants would be covered under the new health insurance reform, he said “no.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that illegal immigrants will not be covered under the current proposals, and even the Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a statement saying that health insurance coverage would be available for “legal, law-abiding” immigrants only.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, these “no’s” impact a lot of people: 11.9 million illegal immigrants live in the United States. But not all of them are without health insurance: 41 percent do have coverage. Unless there is immigration reform and a way to change the citizenship status of illegal immigrants, the remaining 59 percent will likely remain without health insurance.

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Current federal laws permit illegal immigrants to receive emergency health care only, although a few states do provide assistance to uninsured children. The Pew Hispanic Center notes that 47 percent of Hispanic illegal immigrants are families with children, and 73 percent of the children are US born citizens. The parents of these young citizens are anxiously awaiting the day when there is health care for all Americans.

Overall, one-third of Hispanics in the United States do not have health insurance. Among the major ethnic groups, they are the least likely to have coverage through their employer and much less likely to have a regular doctor or to undergo the types of screenings that help prevent serious medical problems.

Immigration activists all seriously ill people should have access to health care, regardless of their legal status, while those who support tough immigration enforcement say offering health care and health insurance just encourage more people to cross the border. As it stands now, Hispanic illegal immigrants, and other undocumented people living in the United States, will not be seeing any health insurance plan coming their way.

SOURCES:
Associated Press 8/11/09
Chicago Tribune 8/11/09
Pew Hispanic Center

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Comments

I am a medical doctor, and admit illegal immigrants every day through our ER. There is no expectation that they will pay for their care - social workers rush to sign them up for Medicaid ASAP, and doctors care for them for free. Conversely, legal residents ( immigrant or not) are expected to pay for their care. They are billed, sent to collections, etc.. This often causes personal financial devastation. 1. It is illegal for a nurse/doctor to refuse to treat a patient in the ER, emergency or not 2. It is illegal to transfer any patient to another site, based on their ability to pay (EMTALA) Illegal immigrants ( Hispanic or not) preferentially receive completely free medical care at this time. They will continue to do so under any of the proposed new systems.