Alabama, Florida Lawmakers Address Immigrants' Access To Health Care Services

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Immigrants' Health Care

The following summarizes news coverage of efforts in Alabama and Florida to address immigrants' access to health care.

  • Alabama:The Joint Patriotic Immigration Commission on Wednesday discussed waysto address undocumented immigrants' access to public services,including health care, the Decatur Daily News reports. According to Don Williamson, director of the Alabama Department of Public Health,ensuring that immigrants -- undocumented or documented -- have accessto preventive health services, such as vaccinations and prenatal care,can reduce costs related to serious health problems that could developlater or the spread of infections to other residents. Williamson urgedthe commission not to enforce restrictions on such services. State Rep.Micky Hammon (R), who serves on the commission, said the commissionshould consider limits to undocumented immigrants' access to servicesother than health care (Ellington, Decatur Daily News, 10/11).
  • Florida:State lawmakers have released a budget proposal that would limit howlong Medicaid will pay for hospitals stays of legal residents who arenot citizens, according to the Tampa Tribune.Florida has used state funds to pay for hospital services beyondfederal limits, but state lawmakers have decided to go back to coveringhospital care at the federal minimum, the Tribunereports. Hospital officials and immigrant advocates maintain that theplan could endanger patients' health and increase the likelihood thepatient would be readmitted to the hospital. In response, lawmakers onTuesday proposed to alter the definition of when a patient is"stabilized," the point at which Medicaid will stop paying for hospitalcare for certain non-citizens. Under the proposal, Medicaid wouldcontinue to pay for care if a patient is in the intensive care unit andif a physician determines that a longer stay is required to preventreadmission within 48 hours. Lawmakers will vote on the proposed budgetFriday (Dolinski, Tampa Tribune, 10/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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