Immigration, Public Health and a Path to Citizenship.

Reply Fri 29 Dec, 2006 03:38 pm
After a ridiculous discussion that involved a claim that Polio is on the rise in the US, certain A2K conservatives went on a rant claiming that immigrants (particularly the "illegal" ones) pose a grave health risk to American public health.

Well I want to go on record as saying, although I think the hysterical unsupported claims of polio and TB are exagerrations that are easily debunked with a brief scan of google results, I think they bring up a good point.

For a good public health system you need two things.

1) Early detection of disease. This means that providing people health care when they show up at the Emergency room is too late.

2) A supportive health care system that can provide complete treatment. One of the challenges, for example, in combatting TB is that people (particularly those in poverty) don't have the support systems in place to insure they have access to, and take, their complete course of medication. Follow up care is crucial.

Poverty is one of the biggest obstacles to public health and it is clear that there are plenty of people who don't have access to good preventative health care who aren't any flavor of immigrant... but this ruckus (brought on by our loyal conservatives) is specifically about immigration.

I think the idea put forward by the conservatives is to make life so impossible for illegal immigrants that they will pack up and go home and take their germs with them. There are, of course, two problems with this... First, problems of poor public health and poverty don't have a nationality and the germs aren't leaving.

Second is that by making life more difficult, you drive people underground. You make it less likely that people will get treatment until they show up on a bed (or on the street) with dying of full blown (and at this point very contageous) TB. Obviously providing the treatment (a course of not too expensive antibiotic shots) is far preferable.

So, as I have agreed with the conservatives that there is an issue here, I have decided to be constructive in coming up with a solution.

I have three suggestions.

1) Implement the Comprehensive immigration reform bill that will be worked out (again) by the Senate next month. This will bring immigrants out of the shadow and make it much more likely that they will get basic health care and screening.

This doesn't even have to cost much. When we pass a path to citizenship, they will be able to work legally and be able to the same access to health care any worker has.

2) Provide a reasonable way for employers to get all the labor they need that doesn't involve people sneaking across the border. Obviously ensuring that people have the proper vaccinations is preferable for everyone involved.

3) Help poorer countries (particularly those that are near to the US) get the vaccinations and health supplies they need. This could include helping with economic development which would help the immigration problem in more ways than one.
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Reply Fri 29 Dec, 2006 05:04 pm
If it was so rediculous, what moved you to start a thread about it?
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Reply Fri 29 Dec, 2006 05:06 pm
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Reply Fri 29 Dec, 2006 05:20 pm
I have a better idea. Plug up that sieve we call a southern border to keep the illegals out. Prevent them from finding employment. Take care of the medical needs of citizens and legal immigrants by means of a universal health care system.

We owe the illegals not a damn thing, and that is what we should give them.
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Reply Fri 29 Dec, 2006 05:52 pm
Who's going to pay for a universal healthcare system?
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Reply Sat 30 Dec, 2006 07:47 am
If we can find a trillion dollars to fund an unjustified war we can also find funds to help our own citizens.
However to answer your question. Instead of the myriad of plans paid for by the American people, federal and local governments and unions pay ito insurance [profit making] companies the money be paid into a medicare type system. That will go a long way towards paying for the universal system. It is high time that the American people insist that their tax dollar be spent for the good of it's citizens not being policemen and uncle sugar for the rest of world.
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