Saturday, September 12, 2009

To lie or not to lie... Is that the question?

Well, the interrupting yelling of our Compadre Wilson (R-SC) during Obama’s speech on health care (09/09/09) brought back into public national attention the question of what to do with undocumented immigrants regarding their health care condition. Obama’s magic words: “Now, there are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false.” Then our compadre’s famous, loud, impulsive and historical words: “You lie!”

Welcome to the Mexicanization of American politics.

Universal coverage for the undocumented, or… Or what? Or else? Or nothing? Let’s take a look to the facts:

1. The poor population in America is growing.

2. Most undocumented immigrants are included in America’s poor population.

3. Higher levels of poverty mean less health care coverage for the poor (in a country without universal coverage), which translates into lower levels of general health for the people who live in that country, regardless of their legal migratory status.

4. Basic health care for the poor in America is hardly affordable, which is one of the main reasons for which President Obama is supporting and pushing for universal health care coverage, this is, for the poor to get affordable medical insurance.

5. If the current proposed health care legislation becomes law as is, then undocumented immigrants would become illegible to access universal coverage. This is, approximately 20% of the whole poor population of the United States would remain out of the good-health loop.

6. Undocumented population can always pay for the services of a private doctor, of course. But reality says that most undocumented immigrants cannot afford a private health care coverage of decent quality. This is, most undocumented immigrants remain uninsured with or without the proposed health care legislation.

7. Second reality check: If a good share of the poor in America remains uninsured, they would lack access to elemental health care. This could be dangerous to the average health of the people living in American soil. Illnesses, mostly the epidemic ones, do not make any type of immigration-status distinction among the population.

8. In any instance, the health care situation of millions of undocumented immigrants, whose majority is among the very poor, needs to be addressed (before, during or after the legislation is passed, if passed): they are an important proportion of the targeted population by Obama’s concerns about the health care of the country and he U.S. cannot afford the luxury of not dealing with the issue. It is both, irresponsible and dangerous.

Regardless of our Compadre Wilson’s outburst, regardless of what his yelling really means to Americans, regardless if the President Obama lies or not, the question about how to deal with the health care of the undocumented remains unanswered. Maybe it is business as usual: the undocumented immigrant is on his/her own in this one.

Although, maybe this time it's not business as usual.

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