Unauthorized and Sick, Some Immigrants Steer Clear of Medical Care
“Patients who are already sick will have a much harder time getting better,” Dr.
Those who don’t get care for infectious diseases, she said, “are much more likely to transmit infections to others.”
Yet as medical costs present a burden for millions of Americans, many people question why citizens who can scarcely
afford their own health care should support through taxes the care of those living here illegally.
Locals think that the workers are receiving grand benefits.”
Here in central North Carolina, where immigrants work in tobacco fields
and chicken-processing factories, and wash dishes and clean bathrooms in booming downtown restaurants and hotels, some health care providers are going to unusual lengths for patients.
In a recent national poll of providers by Migrant Clinicians Network, which is based in Austin, Tex.,
two-thirds of respondents said they had seen a reluctance among patients to seek health care.
Researchers found that in the wake of expanded immigration enforcement in Arizona in 2010, illegal immigrants used
health services less frequently, according to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health.
Hospitals and emergency departments, exponentially more expensive than primary care, will treat more
sick patients, said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“It’s been like a ghost town,” said Dr. Kathleen R. Page, co-director of Centro SOL, a health center for Latinos at Johns Hopkins.