walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

health care for illegal immigrants

I know that none of what I'm about to write will have any impact whatsoever on the debate or the legislation that does or does not emerge from the sausage factory.

I am _extremely distressed_ by the emphasis on making sure illegal immigrants do not participate in health care reform. Republicans are out there shopping the idea that health care providers and insurers need to use the legal-to-work database set up for employers. I haven't heard a straight answer out of any of them about what to do about EMTALA and emergency rooms and illegal immigrants, altho I have heard at least one elected Republican say that whether or not health care reform happens, the feds should be reimbursing hospitals who deliver care to illegal immigrants...because it's the federal government's fault these people are here, apparently.

Well, I guess that's true, in that it's federal law that makes it illegal for them to be here.

I am _outraged_ and _appalled_ (and I cannot emphasize this enough) at people who just take it for granted that everyone agrees that people who have _broken the law_ by being in this country illegally should not have access to health care. I am particularly weirded out by this, since if, for example, a US citizen raped and murdered a whole bunch of illegal immigrant children, that citizen, after due process, would go to prison where that person would then be constitutionally guaranteed right to medical care. (Yes, I know that what passes for medical care in many prisons is beyond grim. I've read the exposes, thank you very much.)

What makes me absolutely twitch with rage, however, is that while I have finally heard someone point out that if we don't reimburse health care providers for treating illegals, or they are required to _check_ that they are not illegal before providing treatment or insurance or whatever, then a whole lot of people who are legal, but don't happen to have their id on them when they are in a horrific car accident, say, might run into some technical difficulties in getting care over and above what happens right now with proof of insurance. I have heard that pointed out. What I _have not_ heard, however, is what it makes our country look like, when some three year old illegal immigrant -- who has no say in where she lives -- needs care and can't get it. Bad enough that we neglect her -- how much more horrific that one of our two political parties is making it a point of pride, a moral issue, to neglect her.

If health care is -- and I firmly believe it is -- a moral issue, then how can it be moral to say that some children are not deserving of care, because of decisions made by their parents?

And if it is wrong to deny that three year old care, when does it become right to deny her care? When she is 10? When she is graduating from high school? When she has graduated from Harvard?


Maybe some day we'll get another amnesty, and real immigration reform. Until then, amendments to deny access to health care to people who are in the country illegally should _not_ be justified on the basis that they broke the law by being here. We supply health care to plenty of other people who have broken much, much, much more serious laws.
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