There is an article in yesterday’s NYT “Deported in a Coma, Saved Back in the US” that had me covering my face and weeping, again. It tells the story of LEGAL immigrants who have been injured and required constant care but aren’t registered for health insurance. These critically ill humans are consequently chucked around from hospital to hospital then eventually deported without care or instruction. Its a rippling effect of a system that just does not work. 4.5 million are uninsured, including me and many of my friends. If god forbid I were in some freak accident and not being registered for insurance and barely a legal immigrant, I would be fucked. Of course hospitals are not all to blame. It is lack of government financing, health care bureaucracy AND hospital negligence.
“There is only limited federal financing for these fragile patients, and no governmental oversight of what happens to them. Instead, it is left to individual hospitals, many of whom see themselves as stranded at the crossroads of a failed immigration policy and a failed health care system, to cut through a thicket of financial, legal and ethical concerns.
That creates a burden. “It’s a killer,” said Brian Conway, spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association. But it also establishes the potential for neglectful and unethical if not illegal behavior by hospitals.”
There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country, majority of them working rigorous physically intensive jobs and they are bound to get hurt. Even if it were just some freak car accident, they are not given any attention, no choice for treatment since they are not insurance and sure as cannot afford proper care. There must be a way to fix this. Fix immigration first. Obama wants to require illigal immigrants to pay a fine, learn english and go to the back of the line. That’s fine, but provide education and health care so they can be smart and healthy and assimiliate properly in a country that is supposed to provide opportunity, safety and prosperity.
There must be a resolution and there are some hospitals working to oppose forced repatriation of patients. I just wonder what else can be done, some sort of private insurance for illegal immigrants? I guess that just dodges the need to first become legal, asap.