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Denying health care to undocumented immigrants is just another version of a death panel

Denying health care to undocumented immigrants is just another version of a death panel

LatinaLista — During yesterday's coverage of Honduras' elections, reports were being filed from cities such as Miami, Houston, NYC and Los Angeles citing the number of Hondurans who reside in those cities but were doing their civic duty in voting for their home country's next President.


With poverty rampant in Honduras, Haiti being the only Latin American country poorer than Honduras, it's not surprising that there is a sizeable representation of Honduran ex-patriots.

Yet, while they are here to work, an article on NaplesNews.com illustrates that their American Dream is in tatters -- but not enough to give up and move back to a country that can't even sustain its present citizens.

Their reason for staying isn't because of employment, or lack of it -- it's because their U.S.-born children don't want to move to a country they don't know.

It is a reality that underscores every major debate to be undertaken in Congress -- starting with healthcare.


While granting healthcare options to undocumented immigrants has been widely condemned by conservatives of both sides, the fact remains that the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants are entitled to that health coverage.

The idea to even deny children healthcare coverage, regardless of their citizenship status, is an issue that is not only highly offensive to the Latino community, for whom children do hold a special place, but a new survey reveals it is part of the broader healthcare issue now identified as the most important one for Latino voters.

A new poll released today by Latino Decisions, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico (UNM-RWJF Center), and impreMedia, shows a widespread consensus among the Latino/Hispanic electoral about the importance of health care reform and indicates significant support for expansion of coverage.

For the first time, health care tops the list of national issues identified by respondents as the most important issue Congress and the President need to address. This is particularly impressive, given that in April 2009 a similar Latino Decisions poll found that only 6% of the Latino electorate had identified health care as the most important issue.

The survey found: 74 percent of Latinos support a plan that includes a public option; 67 percent believe healthcare needs to be made available regardless of citizenship or legal residency and 61 percent would like to see universal health care.

The infamous yell of "You lie!" that triggered the backlash against undocumented immigrants to be considered for inclusion in healthcare coverage should also serve as the rallying cry for the Latino community to re-energize a political clout that must be proven wasn't an anomaly during the presidential election.

This survey is the first step. Now, it's a matter of further mobilizing the Latino electorate to make Congress see they must do what is right and just -- and humane.

Otherwise, segregating people into groups of who deserves healthcare and who doesn't is just another form of a death panel that too many in Congress have no problem endorsing.

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