Today’s post is from a guest, colleague, and a definite #HCLDR, Jennifer Chevinsky. I think this is a very timely topic, and I hope you will take the time to read, share, and join the conversation. Thank you.
Let’s Talk About It: Immigration, Health, and Ethics
By Jennifer Chevinsky (@jchevinsky)
How do we in the United States define justice? This is a quintessential question we need to ask ourselves as we consider our views on immigration, immigrants, and healthcare. Instead of leaving conversations about immigration and healthcare policy reform in the shadows or relying on rhetoric, it is time to honestly and transparently grapple with the difficulties of a limited amount of resources, conflicting priorities, and a growing population.
This Monday, April 21st (8:30 – 9:30 PM EDT), @BioethxChat will have the opportunity to discuss ‘Immigration, Healthcare, and Ethics’ with distinguished educator and prominent bioethicist, Mark Kuczewski (@). As current director of the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy and a past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Kuczewski has been at the forefront of numerous bioethical issues that have faced the United States. One arena he is passionate about is immigration and healthcare ethics.
As policies from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are put into practice, new challenges (in addition to many old challenges) will continue to surface. During the chat, Kuczewski will address whether or not physicians have a duty to treat patients without regard for their legal documentation status as well as how immigration policy as it pertains to healthcare relates to concepts of social justice and human rights. Focusing on changes with regard to the ACA, Kuczewski will also lead a discussion on whether or not undocumented immigrants should be able to participate in the health insurance exchanges or be eligible for federal public benefits (for example, Medicare, CHIP, Medicaid); currently, they are not eligible for either.
Perhaps most impressive, Kuczewski will explicate his work with and perspective on DREAMers (referring to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act – undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children) and their eligibility to apply for a spot in United States accredited medical schools. DREAMers have difficulties applying to and enrolling in U.S. medical schools, many of which do not have transparent policies about acceptance of undocumented students. He played a fundamental role in paving the way for DREAMers to not only apply for admission, but also be welcomed into the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.
The final matter that will be discussed highlights the reason this chat is so important. Kuczewski will express whether or not he believes medical repatriation of undocumented immigrants can ever be ethical. How can we expect to provide exceptional care and maintain health costs when individuals are put in a position where they have to weigh the importance of their health against the possible risk of forced deportation? If undocumented immigrants have to fear being returned to their country of origin upon seeking medical care, how can we expect them to come forward to advocate for their cause? Their lives may very well be in our hands, as U.S. citizens, to advocate for policies we believe to be fair and just.
Please see full list of question, below:
T1a: Do HCPs have an ethical responsibility to treat all patients without regard to their legal documentation status? Why/why not? #bioethx
T1b: Undocumented Immigrants not eligible 2 pay for private insurance thru exchanges/marketplace. Does this pose ethical issue? #bioethx
T1c: Should undocumented immigrants be eligible for federal public benefits (Medicare, CHIP, Medicaid etc)? Why/why not? #bioethx
T2a: Should undocumented students (DREAMers) be eligible to apply for U.S. graduate health schools? #bioethx
T2b: What unique barriers might undocumented students face even once accepted into U.S. graduate HC programs? #bioethx
T3: Can medical repatriation of undocumented immigrants (returning pt to country of origin) be ethical? Under what conditions? #bioethx
T4: How does immigration policy as it pertains to health/healthcare relate to concepts of social justice and/or human rights? #bioethx
The chat will be a unique opportunity for individuals with various backgrounds, educational and otherwise, to learn and contribute to this important dialogue. The goal of the chat is not to specifically come up with ‘answers,’ but rather to promote thoughtful conversation on the important topic of immigration and healthcare. We can’t reach the level of justice we consider to be acceptable unless we talk about immigration, talk about healthcare, and talk about ethics.
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek
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