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Health of NewcomersImmigration, Health Policy, and the Case for Global Solidarity$
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Patricia Illingworth and Wendy E. Parmet

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780814789216

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814789216.001.0001

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A Nation of Uninsured Immigrants

A Nation of Uninsured Immigrants

(p.73) 4 A Nation of Uninsured Immigrants
Health of Newcomers

Patricia Illingworth

Wendy E. Parmet

NYU Press

The United States is unique among developed countries in not providing health insurance to all of its citizens. But newcomers, both legal and undocumented, are far more likely to be uninsured than natives. This chapter reviews US law, including the Affordable Care Act, regarding immigrants’ access to health insurance, exposing the conflicting and inconsistent policies towards including immigrants within the nation’s health care system. These policies not only reduce immigrants’ access to health care, they add significant complexity to the US health care system, and create a range of health and economic costs to immigrants and natives alike. The chapter focuses in particular on the practice of medical repatriation, whereby hospitals send seriously ill immigrants to their countries of origin, explaining how the conflicting edicts of US health law encourage the practice by requiring hospitals to treat all emergency patients regardless of citizenship or insurance status, while denying many immigrants public benefits for nonemergency care.

Keywords:   Affordable Care Act, health insurance, immigrants, Medicaid, medical repatriation, uninsured

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