Immigration and Healthcare: No Talking Points This Election

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Immigrants on a steamship heading around the Statue of Liberty. Credit: Library of Congress

This week, I will be attending a two-day meeting on immigration and healthcare.  It’s not an area that I know a lot about and I am interested in your thoughts on the topic. Presidential candidates are not discussing the issues.

One worry that I have concerns privatizing of many public healthcare programs that have served immigrants well for centuries. America seems keen on privatizing right now, but the benefits and harms are not clearly known.

These issues are on my mind:

  1. Will immigrants who were able to get care in the public sector still have the same access once health care is privatized?
  2. Will preventive care, chronic care be available?
  3. Will more care be provided in the emergency room?
  4. Will shrinkage of the public sector mean that they will be sicker?
  5. What will happen to elderly immigrants? Will the healthcare system accommodate immigrants when they decline?
  6. What can be done in health policy and planning to bolster equity and fairness?

What are your thoughts on this issue?

 

Six Outrageous Threats to Labor and The Public’s Health

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Chicago Teachers Union Rally, Labor Day, Daley Plaza, Chicago, Sept. 3, 2012 Credit: Bob Simpson.

When public policy undermines the public’s health, patient empowerment is not really on the table. Patients may be well informed, doctors may share unbiased, good information, but if public policy does not support public health, patient empowerment is just not there. Today, I take up Labor Day and six threats to labor and the public’s health:

  1. Governor Scott Walker’s attacks on collective bargaining.
  2. Privatizing of public programs, for example, Paul Ryan’s push to privatize public services, including Social Security and Medicare, privatizing hospitals, healthcare services, and prisons.
  3. Employers have unfair advantages in union organizing campaigns, including delaying union representation elections, terminating union organizers with impunity, and more.
  4. There is a perceptual problem that people feel that unions are irrelevant. This is a huge problem. Nonunion workers have significantly lower wages, fewer benefits, and no job security, compared to union members.
  5. The rise of unpaid internships with no benefits.
  6. Attempts to rollback of child labor protections – which fortunately,  have been rebuffed.

Voting this November can shut some of this down.