This makes perfect sense, and it puts the debate where it should go: in the realm of public health.
illegal immigrants should have access to health care so they don’t spread dangerous diseases to others.
Public health trumps immigation
According to Dr. J. Fred Ralston, the president of the American College of Physicians, this is not so much a mater of immigration policy as it is a health concern. The undocumented live and work among the rest of the population and the spread of disease is a vital concern. Also, if the undocumented don’t receive adequate health care they are more susceptible to becoming ill – and the vicious cycle begins.
But the ACP went one step further, it outlined what the physicians consider essential items for a national immigration and health care policy:
- protects taxpayers for subsidizing health care insurance for illegal immigrants, but allows such migrants to purchase coverage
- gives U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants the same access to health care as other children
federal government support for organizations providing uncompensated care
- acknowledgement of the risk of undocumented migrants avoiding health care for fear of apprehension
- understanding of a physician’s ethical requirement to treat sick patients regardless of their legal status
- policies that do not foster discrimination based on immigrant status for health care purposes
Follow Victor Landa on Twitter: @vlanda
[Photo by Robert Couse-Baker]