Health

New study shows undocumented immigrants aren’t packing hospital emergency rooms

New study shows undocumented immigrants aren’t packing hospital emergency rooms

LatinaLista -- The latest Rasmussen poll regarding Arizona's immigration law says it found that 55% Favor Immigration Law Like Arizona's For Their State.

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It's not surprising given that the foundation of all the immigration legislation enacted thus far in various states is based partly on fact and a lot of fiction.

For example, two of the main reasons supporters say that any kind of immigration bill is needed is because of escalating crime committed by the undocumented and abuse of the healthcare system.

Looking at Arizona, one has to wonder why the crime portion would be a premise for their infamous SB 1070 when crime rates are actually at their lowest in four decades.

According to the FBI, the number of violent crimes reported in Arizona between 2005 and 2008 dropped by almost 1500 while the number of reported property crimes during the same time period decreased by 8000.

Data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) show that the violent crime rates in Arizona from 2006-2008 are the lowest they have been since 1983. In 1998, the rate of violent crime was 577.9 per 100,000. However, according to the Department of Homeland Security, by 2008, this rate had dropped to 477 per 100,000 - despite the fact that Arizona's illegal immigrant population had increased by 70% during this same time.

The other often cited complaint of undocumented immigrants which inspires swift action to enact punitive state immigration enforcement is healthcare. According to the rhetoric, undocumented immigrants take advantage of our healthcare system and are overburdening our emergency rooms.

Yet, a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics finds that this common argument is nothing more than another smokebomb thrown at a gullible public and even more gullible politicians.

According to the report, the majority of people filling up emergency rooms are senior citizens and African Americans.

Among the three ethnic groups: white, black and Hispanic, Hispanics had the lowest rates of emergency room visits.

A few other key findings are:

Among the under-65 population, the uninsured were no more likely than the insured to have had at least one ED visit in a 12-month period.

The percentage of Medicaid beneficiaries under age 65 with four or more ED visits in a 12-month period (5%) was higher than the percentage of persons with four or more visits among the uninsured (2%) and those with private insurance (1%).

Children and adults under age 65 with and without a usual source of medical care were equally likely to have had at least one ED visit.

The data also show that persons without a usual source of medical care are not more likely to have an ED visit than those with a usual source of care, and that uninsured persons are not more likely than others to access the ED for nonurgent visits.

Since undocumented immigrants fall under the umbrella of the uninsured, and given the stats on ethnic use of emergency rooms, it's clear that Latino undocumented immigrants don't "abuse" the system as they are accused of doing.

Do undocumented immigrants use emergency rooms? Of course they do, and the fact that anyone would begrudge them of doing this, since this report pretty much spells out that the uninsured use emergency rooms for urgent care, seems particularly inhumane.

These are only two examples illustrating how two of the arguments levied against the undocumented, as reasons enough to create the kind of legislation we, as a nation, condemn other countries for, are manipulated and exaggerated to fit an agenda of a small self-serving group.

If the Rasmussen poll is to be believed and more states follow Arizona's lead, it's hoped that each state looks at their own situation to see if what the canned rhetoric says really does apply to their cases.

The big surprise may be that things aren't as bad as they are being led to believe.

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