Lawmakers are excluding undocumented immigrants from health care reform legislation and barring them from receiving any government benefits.
Kaiser Health News interviews Dr. Antonio Falcon, a Texas physician, about the care of illegal immigrants in border communities. "Falcon, a member of the Texas Medical Association and the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, ... worries that lawmakers in Washington are failing to address several important border health issues, including illegal immigrants' health care ... [and] warned that failure to recognize the high, unreimbursed costs of caring for this population could undermine hospitals and providers along the border and open the door to public health risks for the entire nation." Falcon says: "It seems like policy makers want to isolate [the issue of] illegal immigrants' care as something that's kind of standing out there on its own and it's not. It's mixed in with the rest of the soup. Like it or not" (Marcy, 10/23).
Kaiser Health News also provides an explainer on immigrants and health care in the United States and how health reform bills may affect them (Evans, 10/23).
Meanwhile, KQED Public Radio in San Francisco explores the effects of immigration reform on public health and looks at "what it's like for undocumented and seasonal workers to get health care under the current system, and how immigration reform could change things." The station specifically reports on the Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA), information about the H1N1 vaccine and barriers that undocumented immigrants face in receiving health care in California. The program is part of a series called Health Dialogues (10/23).