[politics] A few simple questions about illegal immigrants and healthcare

Given the furor over Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s healthcare speech this week, I have a few simple questions for you. I’m interested in answers from all across the political spectrum, and especially in your logic behind them.

(1) Should the proposed public option cover illegal immigrants?

(2) Should illegal immigrants be entitled to emergency medical care?

(3) Should illegal immigrants be entitled to nonemergency or preventative medical care?

(4) Should immigration status be checked at accident scenes or time of ER admission?

(5) What should happen to people refused treatment because of their immigration status?

(6) What should happen to people unable to demonstrate their immigration status, due to injury or incapacity?

(7) Should these standards be applied to minor children of illegal immigrants?

7 thoughts on “[politics] A few simple questions about illegal immigrants and healthcare

  1. Cora says:

    I’m not American, but I do believe that everybody, including illegal immigrants, should have access to healthcare without having to fear being reported to the authorities.

    The German system is by no means perfect, but it does cover almost everybody. There are a few holes which make it possible for people to fall out of the system, but most of them have been plugged by now. There even are mechanisms in place to ensure that refugees, asylum seekers, immigrant workers and tourists visiting the country are covered.

    However, illegal immigrants are caught in such a coverage hole. Because they have no papers, they are not able to get regular coverage, besides the minimum monthly premium (approx. 130 EUR per month for a single person) would be well out of the league of most illegal immigrants anyway. They usually work jobs below the employer coverage threshold, plus the sort of companies that employ illegal immigrants also tend to be the sort of companies that try to shirk out of social security and health insurance payments. In case of emergencies, hospitals and doctors are required to treat them, however, they are also theoretically required to report them to the immigration authorities. So in short, we have a horrible situation here.

    In bigger cities, there are doctors who volunteer to provide free medical care for illegal immigrants. These doctors offer consultations at regular intervals (e.g. once a month or so), usually in offices of charities helping illegal immigrants. If someone needs specialized care or preventive measures (e.g. pregnant women requiring prenatal check-ups and the like), they are referred to trusted doctors who provide the necessary care and do not report them. The immigration authorities usually know about the consultation hours, but they leave the doctors and their patients alone, probably because they realize on some level that it is better to have someone providing care for illegal immigrants. After all, no one wants an illegal immigrant with undiagnosed and untreated tuberculosis working in a restaurant. It’s still an untenable situation and something should be done about it to allow illegal immigrants access to basic medical care without fear of being reported.

  2. All residents, including illegal immigrants, should have full medical coverage because the 14th amendment to the constitution says: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    This seems to me clear cut. Citizenship is not required for protection of life. Medical care exists to protect life. Therefore any resident, illegal or not, should be afforded such protection. (Constitutional scholars may disagree; I do not claim any scholarship on the subject.)

    Also, it is simply the right thing to do. Our leaders manage to convince themselves that it is necessary to maim and kill the residents of other countries. I don’t think it is asking too much to help these same leaders convince themselves that they are wrong in this belief, and that it is right and proper to keep residents in this country alive and well. If we want to be a beacon to the rest of the world, we should start acting like it.

  3. Shane says:

    I have to disagree. If the immigrants in question truly are illegal, then giving them “due process of the law” and “equal protection of the laws” isn’t going to amount to much.

    If someone wants to get the benefits of our government, then they have to follow the laws of that government, plain and simple. You don’t get to pick the good stuff and ignore the bad stuff.

    There’s no need to require identification at the scene of an accident; it’s not an issue until the time of payment. If I am rushed to a hospital in an emergency, they don’t verify my insurance before starting CPR (at least in my experience). I don’t see any reason for that to change. If it turns out they are in the country illegally, then they have to foot the bill.

    If there are problems with immigration laws, lets fix them, not make other laws that work around the problem. Until such time as those laws are changed, the people in question are doing something illegal. Committing a crime. I’m not saying we need to kick them out of the country or anything, but I am saying they don’t have the same rights as someone following the law. Quite a few precedents on that one.

  4. Given that the central argument for universal health care is that health care is a human right, immigration status has no bearing. If you are human, you get health care. I think that answers all 7 questions.

  5. ytimynona says:

    (1) Should the proposed public option cover illegal immigrants? ~No. Not unless they are paying the taxes that everyone else pays that help cover the program.

    (2) Should illegal immigrants be entitled to emergency medical care? ~Yes. Like all people should be. I would hate for an EMT to look through my wallet to find my health insurance card BEFORE giving me CPR. (I wouldn’t say “entitled” though. That implied FREE emergency medical care. Which it isn’t.)

    (3) Should illegal immigrants be entitled to nonemergency or preventative medical care? ~Tougher to answer. Yes, but not for free. If they can pay for it, refusing to give it based on citizenship is just stupid. But nobody gets health care for free, not even citizens. Even if there is a public option, citizens will be paying for it with higher taxes or a monthly fee (or probably both).

    (4) Should immigration status be checked at accident scenes or time of ER admission? ~NO! It would take too long in cases of true emergency. Like others sans insurance, they should get a bill afterwards.

    (5) What should happen to people refused treatment because of their immigration status? ~I might be something of a libertarian, but I believe that they should ask their churches and/or communities for help paying for larger bills. As for smaller, preventative things: there are free clinics in larger communities and cities that often don’t ask too many questions of families in need.

    (6) What should happen to people unable to demonstrate their immigration status, due to injury or incapacity? ~Like a car accident? They should be treated, and then billed later. In such cases, there is no time to check things like whether or not someone has insurance.

    (7) Should these standards be applied to minor children of illegal immigrants? ~If they were born here, it doesn’t matter who their parents are. They are citizens too. And if there is a public option, they can opt in just as much as any other citizen. Those children not born here are in the same boat as their parents. 🙁

    I’m not saying that people should be denied health care based on their citizenship status. (What would tourists do? Or migrant workers?) I’m saying that the public option should only cover citizens. And illegal immigrants have every right to health care… as long as they pay for it like the rest of us, through either becoming a tax-paying citizen or paying straight-up for any care received.

  6. Tom the H says:

    I do not believe illegal immigrants should be able to come here and sponge off the money that Americans would be forced by, penalty of fine or imprisonment, to pay into the system. That sort of sounds like slavery to me – an illegal can demand servitude from tax payers simply by showing up. Also, illegals can not be guaranteed “equal protection” of the laws under the 14th Amendment and therefore CAN be discriminated against. This is primarily because they can’t be tried for treason. Therefore they are not subject to that law. Therefore they cause an inequality of the law between themselves and citizens. Secondarily, if congress passes a public option it will be federal law and the 14th amdendment was written to only apply to the states. Illegals CAN be exported by congress and we should make them as comfortable as possible on their train/bus ride to the border or ocean-going vessel if they show up and demand servitude from taxpaying Americans.

Comments are closed.