Latinos Need Health Care Reform, Spanish Speaking Providers

Latinos not only need health care reform, but Spanish speaking health care professionals, writes Matthew Stieglitz in an excellent post from Latino Politics Blog. Stieglitz’s abuelita broke her hip during the holidays and he had some very interesting observations to share.

Observation 1: the United States lacks bilingual medical professionals. My Abuela’s surgery, hospital stay, rehabilitation, and pending transfer home with an in-home therapist have exposed her to countless doctors, nurses, aides, surgeons, Medicare representatives, and therapists. And the lovely number of bilingual professionals who were part of that process? Three. While I know this cannot be generalized to all other geographic regions in the country, it is still disheartening considering my family lives a half hour outside New York City and considering Latinos will be one quarter of the US population in the coming years…

Observation 2: nothing in this country can be addressed until healthcare is fixed. Illegal immigrants and the poor flooded emergency rooms before healthcare reform because of their lack of insurance, which highlighted our joke of an immigration system. Instead of focusing on addressing healthcare, the Republican Party spent this past decade engaged in anti-Latino rhetoric that could make even a semi-intelligent observer think our healthcare system was flawed solely because of charity care to illegal immigrants and low-income Latinos on Medicaid. Although illegal immigration and Medicaid inefficiency contributed to the problem, they by no means were the only cause of the spike in health care costs that accompanied fewer services. Unfortunately, politicians seem to have failed in addressing this.

Have you ever had a similar experience? Did you have to translate for a family member or take a bad joke about immigrants and health care?

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