Senate Immigration Bill Could Boost Health Care Workforce

News outlets report that the plan could make it easier for foreign-born doctors to come to the United States while reducing the dependence of newly legal immigrants on emergency rooms.

Politico: Immigration Bill Could Import Foreign-Born Doctors
The immigration bill might have a partial solution to the doctor shortage in underserved areas: import them. Or more precisely, make it easier for foreign physicians who come to the U.S. for their medical residencies to stay on after their training — if they’ll then serve three years where they are most needed (Cunningham, 4/22).

Modern Healthcare: Boost To Healthcare Workforce Could Come From Immigration Bill
A bipartisan Senate immigration bill could boost the nation's healthcare workforce, in addition to expanding coverage to millions of newly legal residents. The 844-page Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which was introduced Thursday, would provide a legalization process for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants. Although the bill bars access to public benefits during a transitional period, the newly legal residents could qualify for private insurance for the first time—possibly reducing their dependence on emergency rooms, according to health policy experts (Daly and Zigmond, 4/19).

Also in the health policy headlines from Capitol Hill -

Politico: Mental Health Advocacy Hits Reset
Mental health advocates hitched a ride on the gun control wagon. Now the wagon is stuck. After the Sandy Hook school killings, all sides of the gun control divide agreed that mass shootings — Tucson, Aurora and Newtown, among them — highlighted inadequacies in the U.S. mental health care system. Some opponents of any new gun restrictions framed the problem as primarily a mental health crisis. From their viewpoint, guns don't kill, mentally ill people do (Kenen and Cunningham, 4/21).

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