Sentinel

All Immigrants Should Be Covered By Health Insurance

Sentinel — Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Letters to the Editor

As an immigrant myself, I am very troubled by a common attack used by opponents of national health care reform: that a public health insurance option will provide coverage to undocumented immigrants.

Regardless of one's political or personal opinions about immigration, a public health insurance plan will be most effective at driving down skyrocketing health care costs for all of us — families, businesses and government — if it is available to everyone, undocumented immigrants included. Without access to primary care doctors, undocumented immigrants will not receive the preventative health care needed to prevent illness and avoid deteriorating health conditions that are much more expensive to treat in the long term. Policies of exclusion will only cost all of us more in emergency room and hospital fees.

In light of the recent swine flu outbreak, we should also be mindful of the threat of communicable diseases. In order to maintain the overall health of our nation, it is important that everyone who lives in America — regardless of legal status — has access to affordable, quality health care that emphasizes prevention and wellness.

A primary goal of national reform is to stem rising health care costs burdening our families, small businesses and our national economy. Health care reform should not be sidetracked by tactics designed to divide us and divert attention from the real problems with our health care system, including the harmful and costly practices of insurance companies that delay and deny needed care. Health care for all should be just that.

Piash Ahamed
Member
NJ for Health Care Campaign
Colonia section of
Woodbridge

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