Immigration and Health Care Reform

The price of exclusion to us all

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While our nation faces the dauting question of, "how" do we reform health care, we as Californians need to ask, "who" is going to shoulder the financial burden?

Since the recession started, over 500,000 Californians have lost their health care coverage, and by 2010, that number is expectedto reach 600,000.  Our health care premiums are growing three times faster than our wages. Health care reform is no longer an option, it's a necessity.

In this editorial, we focus on the Baucus bill currently moving forward in the U.S. Senate. And why NBC Bay Area believes this plan to exclude undocumented immigrants, and immigrants here less than five years, will only lay a bigger burden at the taxpayers feet, especially here in California.

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Senator Baucus' Health Care Bill

Roll Call: "Baucus Should Be More Inclusive With Health Care Plan"
by: Rep. Mike Honda

The Hill: "Senate Finance passes healthcare bill; Snowe the lone GOP supporter"
by Jeffrey Young

Tampa Tribune: "Real health Care Reform Requires Public Option"
August 26, 2009

American Journal of Public Health: “Insured immigrants had much lower medical expenses than insured US-born citizens, even after the effects of insurance coverage were controlled. This suggests that immigrants' insurance premiums may be cross-subsidizing care for the US-born. If so, health care resources could be redirected back to immigrantsto improve their care.”

Migration Policy Institute: “Recent studies have found that immigrants spend 14 to 20 percent less on health care than natives even when controlling for their insurance coverage, and that noncitizens spend less than half as much as citizens on health care overall.” MPI report page. 22 (attached).

Article on costs for Sutter hospital in Solano County, CA:

“Sutter hospital's emergency-room staff now refer about 60 patients a month to La Clínica. With a basic examination at Sutter hospital costing about $500 -- and often going unpaid by poor patients -- that is the equivalent of $30,000 in routine emergency-visit charges that would otherwise be written off as charity.La Clínica charges $85.50 per consultation; low-income patients are charged less.”

In Massachusetts:
“By dropping 30,000 legal immigrants from Commonwealth Care, Massachusetts will only shift the cost back to the “safety net” that is currently in place to deal with the small percentage of residents who remain uninsured.

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