Tag: Health care reform

Immigration NewsLatino

Latinos Support Health Care Reform But Not Mandate

A new Impremedia poll shows that Latinos support the majority of the federal health care law’s provisions and oppose its repeal. But just like other voters, they are against the clause that will force them to purchase coverage, the so-called mandate.

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A Year In, Immigrant Groups Say Health Care Reform Has Benefited Communities

On the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care for Americans Act, groups in New York say federal health care reform has already benefited immigrant small business owners.

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News Analysis: Health Care Reform Turns into an Immigration Debate for Some

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter

Health care reform opponents in West Hartford, Conn. (Photo: ragesoss/flickr)

Health care reform opponents in West Hartford, Conn. (Photo: ragesoss/Flickr - Click to visit.)

This Wednesday, President Obama is scheduled to give a major speech on health care reform before a joint session of Congress. The speech comes after weeks of controversy over various proposals and their real or imagined effects on the country. Some groups have focused not on the details of how to cover more people, lower the cost of care, or improve the health of Americans, but on how immigrants fit into the equation.

When a Congressional Research Office report surfaced recently analyzing the treatment of immigrants (documented and not) under one of the pending health care reform bills, some took it to mean… well, the exact opposite of what the CRO found.

The Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a Washington lobbyist group with an immigration restriction agenda, claimed it confirmed their worst fears: that illegal aliens would get health care coverage on the government’s dime.

“Congressional Research Agency Confirms Illegal Aliens Will Get Health Benefits Under House Bill,” claimed the headline, still at the top of FAIR’s website on Monday.

There is just one problem with that assertion: if you read the CRO report, it says the complete opposite.

(more…)

Immigration News

New Law Expands Health Care for Immigrant Children: A Preview of Health Care Reform Debate?

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

SAUGUS, Mass. – Shocked, fearful, and helpless – that’s how Samuel Goncalves felt in 2007 shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 18.

Samuel, who immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil with his family, had no health insurance. Even though he was a legal immigrant, Goncalves didn’t qualify for Medicaid or any other government-run health program. He only had a green card for three years – not five, as federal law required back then.

The five-year waiting period for legal immigrant children to qualify for health assistance was removed last week as President Barack Obama signed into law the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009 (SCHIP). SCHIP will enable states to cover more than four million uninsured children from low-income families – including legal immigrant children – by 2013, while continuing coverage for seven million youngsters already covered by the program.

Obama signed SCHIP into law despite opposition from conservatives.

Obama signed SCHIP into law despite opposition from conservatives... and CNN's Lou Dobbs. (Image: Media Matters for America)

In Congress, the debate over SCHIP was considered by many to be a preview of the upcoming debate over health care reform. Although the U.S. invests about $2 trillion per year in health care, 45 million Americans remain uninsured.

“Even though we’re considered the wealthiest country on Earth, the health and well-being of Americas’ children is worse than that of every other developed country in the world,” said Charles Homer, pediatrician and C.E.O. of the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), a Cambridge, Mass. based non-profit organization.

“This bill also provides states with funding for measuring the quality of service,” said Homer. “It not only insures that kids get in the door, but when they do, that the service is as good as it should be.”

For the past two years, NICHQ has worked with a pediatric national committee and pushed SCHIP with several leaders, such as Senator Evan Bayh (D.-Ind.).

SCHIP was first enacted in 1997, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. But the trail from conception to Congressional approval of the reauthorization bill last week was long and rocky. Since 2007, the House had voted on the proposal seven times. But it faced fierce resistance from Republicans like Iowa Representative Steve King, who denounced the bill as “a foundation stone for socialized medicine.” President Bush vetoed two versions of the bill approved by Congress. (more…)

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Immigrants, Physicians Look to Obama for Health Care Reform

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira EthnicNewz.org and FI2W reporter

When Barack Obama begins to focus on health reform as part of his lengthy to-do list, the new President probably won’t address the case of Pretinha, a 64-year-old undocumented housecleaner from Framingham, Mass., who worked for 22 years, but has no health insurance.

She is not alone. Dr. Milagros Abreu, a Boston University physician, knows hundreds of working families who, despite having paid taxes for years, were left behind by the Massachusetts Health Reform of 2006.

Dr. Milagros has helped more than a 1,000 Latino families enroll in a local health insurance.

Despite Pretinha’s lack of insurance, doctors at MetroWest Medical Center acted promptly after discovering her heart was failing. She was rushed to the operating room to receive a pacemaker, a small device that uses electrical pulses to normalize the heart rate.

Pretinha’s life was saved only because there were people who care for those who “simply don’t qualify.”

“Since June, our goal has been to draft a concrete proposal so the President can work on health reform on day one,” said John McDonough, a former Mass. state representative, and an envoy of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s office to spearhead health reform efforts.

President-elect Obama has said he will look for Congressional input on the direction the country takes on health care reform. But will the Republican minority in Congress compromise? Or will 46 million Americans, of which 32 percent are Latinos, remain uninsured?

“It’s probably too early to say how the Republicans will vote,” said McDonough, who admits that the illness of Sen. Kennedy, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last May, has helped soften some hearts, but will not be decisive. (more…)