U.S. Denies Health Care to Newborns of Undocumented Residents
All children born in the U.S. are United States citizens. But the Bush-signed Deficit Reduction Act that went into effect in July prevents Medicaid from covering health care benefits to those born to undocumented residents -- unless the parents file proof of citizenship for the child, which is a catch-22 because the application form takes weeks or months and many of the immigrant parents don't want to alert authorities to their presence here.
Hospitals are just now catching up with the law's demands and doctors are justifiably outraged:
Dr. Jay E. Berkelhamer, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the policy “punishes babies who, according to the Constitution, are citizens because they were born here.” Dr. Martin C. Michaels, a pediatrician in Dalton, Ga., said that continuous coverage in the first year of life was important because “newborns need care right from the start.”
“Some Americans may want to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants, and others may want to send them home,” Dr. Michaels said. “But the children who are born here had no say in that debate.”
Compassionate conservatism at work. Vote these xenophobic louts out November 7. These babies are citizens and entitled to every advantage we can provide. Every child is entitled to an equal chance to succeed. Medical care during the first year of life is critical.
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