AT LEAST A 300 WORD DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS PROMPT BELOW: Case 16b: Health Care f

AT LEAST A 300 WORD DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS PROMPT BELOW:
Case 16b: Health Care for Undocumented Aliens
In 1994 California voters approved Proposition 187, legislation to restrict or eliminate
access by illegal immigrants to a variety of public services, including health care. One provision
of the measure requires that health providers and others report suspected illegal aliens to
authorities:
If any publicly-funded health care facility in this state from whom a
person seeks health care services, other than emergency medical care
as required by federal law, determines or reasonably suspects, based
upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the
United States in violation of federal law, the following shall be
followed by the facility: 1) The facility shall not provide the person
with services; 2) The facility shall, in writing, notify the person of
his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person
must either obtain legal status or leave the United States; 3) The
facility shall also notify the State Director of Health Services, the
Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration
and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall
provide any additional information that may be requested by any
other public entity.
After the legislation was passed, there were a number of reports that illegals were
forgoing health care for fear of being deported. In some cases, according to initial reports, patient
loads at some clinics declined 20 percent. Elsewhere, there were fears of increases in
tuberculosis. A Hospital Council of Southern California spokesperson called Proposition 187 “a
public health nightmare.”
Questions for Discussion
1. Do undocumented aliens have a right to health care? Should their care be paid for by taxes
collected from legal residents of the United States?
2. Should health workers be required to turn illegal immigrants over to authorities?
3. Would it be possible to distinguish, for purposes of public policy, between communicable
diseases and other medical conditions for which illegal aliens might require health care?
References:
Aston, G. (1995, January 9). Hospitals join the fight. American Hospital News, p. 7.
Ziv, T. A. & Lo, B. (1995). Denial of care to illegal immigrants: Proposition 187 in
California. New Engl JMed, 332, 10951098.
Nickel, J. W. (1986). Should undocumented aliens be entitled to health care? Hastings
Center Rep, 16, 19-23.

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