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CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Swine Flu: Budgets and Immigration Status
Katz is a family physician at CommuniCare Health Centers in Yolo County, California. He said today: "We have had decreased capacity in our clinics in dealing with something like swine flu because we've had county and state cutbacks over the last year. ...
"CommuniCare is a network of community health centers that cares for the underserved population of the county. I'm concerned about budgetary decisions being made in many counties in California that exclude undocumented county residents from the county-financed safety net health systems. County supervisors in Yolo County will hold a public hearing on May 5 in Woodland, California to solicit legally required citizen input on their proposed exclusion of Yolo County residents from the County YCHIP program on the basis of immigration status.
"When you have such initiatives, as we do in our county, you start shifting health care costs to hospital emergency rooms and hospitals. It is quite possible that these costs will overwhelm our community hospitals, resulting in one or more going out of business.
"I am concerned that separating out one segment of the California population from access to our health care system damages everyone. It's obviously bad for the undocumented who have to worry about paying inordinate amounts of money or not going in for care altogether. But it affects everyone else too. If undocumented parents don't get prompt treatment for infectious illnesses, they could pass along infections such as swine flu, TB or whooping cough to other county residents. In short, where health care is for the few, we find more health problems for all in the community."