The U.S. is home to the largest immigrant population in the world. However, the demonization, racialization, and stigmatization of undocumented immigrants has predisposed them to serious challenges when accessing health care services (Monga, Keller, & Venters, 2014). The legal system has excluded such immigrants from rights, privileges, and protection given to Americans which has led to reduced access to healthcare.
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The refusal to give care violates basic human rights to equality thus there should be legislation to promote access to comprehensive health services by illegal immigrants. It is important to ensure proper treatment of all people, including undocumented immigrants. Therefore, health provision for illegal immigrants should be a constitutional requirement.
Studies, reports, personal experience, or anecdotal stories related to the proposal
Several groups have raised concerns that it is unfair to continue directing scarce health resources to treat illegal immigrants who do not pay taxes. This has led to a serious dilemma as health providers seek to care for illegal immigrants while the criminal justice system and immigration authorities use health seeking opportunities to arrest and deport undocumented people (Beresford, 2014). As a result of this increased immigration enforcement, some undocumented families have chosen to forego necessary medical services.
Personal experience to inform the proposal
I am informed by the case of an illegal immigrant with a contagious disease. The patient had active tuberculosis but could not access care for fear of his origin. As a result, he transferred microorganism to other Americans. This leads to a higher incidence and prevalence of the disease in the population. Therefore, having legislation that promotes access of care to such undocumented immigrants will also promote the health of Americans as well.
Similar legislation introduced and/or passed in other states
The emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labour Act of 1986 also mandates all patients arriving in the hospital in need of in need of emergency care or in the active phase of labour to receive initial screening and offered the necessary care until they are stable (Beresford, 2014). This legislation caters for the provision of care to illegal immigrants but only covers emergency cases. Also, the constitution calls for the upholding of the fundamental human rights for all (Monga et al., 2014). Therefore, the denial of care to immigrants is discriminative.
The provision of healthcare services to immigrant patients require costly resources in terms of materials, personnel, and facilities. This would result from the significant increase in the number of illegal immigrants seeking health services. The influx would also strain local hospitals. As a result, hospitals would be forced to employ more staff thus necessitating more budgetary allocations.
Stakeholder groups that would support this bill
Several stakeholders would be involved in such a legislation. The religious and humanitarian organization would support such as bill. Healthcare providers are also bound to support the bill following their training and adherence to the Hippocratic Oath that does not condone the denial of treatment to any person.
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People/groups that would oppose this bill
However, the legal system would greatly oppose any legislation that grants immigrants health rights, privileges, and protection given to Americans.
It is important to recognize the need to care for the indigent and needy persons in the community despite their origin. Therefore, I propose that undocumented immigrants deserve the highest attainable standard of care thus the government institutions should provide comprehensive health services to them without turning them in for deportation.
Beresford, H. (2014). Care of an undocumented immigrant: Case and comment. Neurology: Clinical Practice, 4(2), 131-135. Web.
Monga, P., Keller, A., & Venters, H. (2014). Prevention and punishment: Barriers to accessing health services for undocumented immigrants in the united states. Laws, 3(1), 50-60. Web.