LatinaLista — Of all the punitive measures taken against undocumented immigrants, the most grievous has to be restricting their access to health care. It’s a practice that needs to be addressed rather than ignored or “kicked down the road.”
One organization recognizes the need to talk about this important issue and ask the kinds of questions that aren’t being addressed in a public forum — Who are the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.? What are their greatest health care needs? How do they get health care now, and what are their barriers to obtaining needed care? How will the health care reform law affect their access to care, given that it prohibits them from purchasing private insurance through insurance exchanges?
The Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institution, has created the site Undocumented Patients to get some answers to these important questions. Part of a research project, the site “explores ethical, legal, and policymaking challenges that arise when undocumented immigrants living in the US need medical care.”
On the site, visitors find:
issue briefs on the demographic and socioeconomic status of undocumented immigrants, their use of health care, and how U.S. policy affects their access to care
an interactive database of key resources featuring selected journal articles, policy studies, and media reports on undocumented immigrants, the health care safety net, and related issues
a news feed, updated continuously, with the latest developments on undocumented immigrants and their access to health care
In the coming months, new features will appear, including a special report on the arguments for providing health care to undocumented patients and offering an ethical framework for clinicians, health care organizations, and others who care for and advocate on behalf of this population. The website will also include updates on journal articles, presentations, and other project activities.
The hope is that the site can be source that filters out the anti-immigrant and racist elements that so often surround this issue and present in a non-partisan way just what the true costs to the country’s economy, healthcare system and global standing are when people are turned away or have restricted access due to their citizenship status.