Monday, April 14, 2008

Undocumented Immigrants & Health Care

A very interesting story -- a 21 year old undocumented immigrant with 4 liver transplants -- who should foot the bill? U.S. taxpayers?

4 comments:

sara said...

I think asking who should foot the bill for an illegal immigrants healthcare is analogous to the debate of whether or nor illegal immigrants should have driver's liscences: these are secondary issues stemming from the fact that this country hasn't adequately addressed immigration.
First, we need to deal with the vast number of illegal immigrants in this country (and no, by "deal with" I am not advocating mass deportation, raids on people's homes, profiling drivers, or building a fence...Personally I find it rather ironic that many people who are so ardently opposed to their tax dollars going to save someone's life are willing to spend BILLIONS of dollars building a fence around our country...) Anyway, we need to make it so PEOPLE are not treated as "undocumented aliens" occupying some grey area where as children they qualify for healthcare and as adults they do not. Should the US taxpayer foot the bill? I would say no. But the larger solution is not whether or not we pay for healthcare, but getting these individuals some form of legal status in this country (be it work visas or LPR or...) so that they can then work and be afforded or apply for health insurance, so that it doesn't even come to these dire situations.

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Ryan said...

This is an ethics question, a legal question, a socio-political question, and a financial question. But it can be simplified. Let's say that it's unethical to discontinue care. Most doctors would probably agree with that. The answer, then, might be to prevent illegal immigrants --- regardless of age -- from receiving care in the first place. However, this appears to be unreasonable given that we cannot keep illegals from entering the country. So, given that state budgets cannot afford to provide care for illegals 21 and over, care should stop at age 21. This seems harsh. It would seem less harsh if it were made clear to illegals -- upon the initiation of care -- that the care would end at age 21, and after that point they would need to make their own arrangements. This way, they could plan ahead and figure out other options. People -- illegals or citizens -- need to take responsibility for themselves and their families. Ultimately, it's survival of the fittest, regardless of whether you're in the US or a third-world country.

Nikki M said...

I guess I am unable to step back and look at this issue from anything other than a medical standpoint. Maybe thats naive, I am aware that we can't have everyone crossing our border and using up our medical resources. But as someone going into the health care field I can't seem to justify rationing resources based on who is American and who isn't. From a medical triage standpoint, organs are scarce resources and need to be rationed according to the greatest need. Once you're in this country, I don't think your immigration status can be factored into your MEDICAL need for an organ. It runs along the same thought process as me not believing a rich American who can foot the bill is more entitled to a liver than a poor American. If we don't want illegal aliens using our health resources, find a way to keep them out. But otherwise don't put medical professionals in a position where they're forced to deny someone care on any basis other than medical condition. Physicians take an oath, and I'm pretty sure there's no clause in there that limits their duties to people in this country legally.