A project of the Center for Community Change

Health Care

Going bi-coastal for immigrant inclusion in health care

Yesterday, immigrant rights groups took direct action to law makers on both coasts of the country.  With the Senate reopening debate on health care reform, the current version of the bill being debated will once again throw immigrants (both documented and undocumented) under the bus.

In San Francisco,  around 250 people demonstrated outside of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. The rally was organized in reaction to the Senate’s version of the health care reform bill that excludes undocumented immigrants from purchasing insurance with their own money and reinstates the five year bar for legal immigrants’ access to care.

EunSook Lee, Executive Director of NAKASEC spoke to the crowd about their common purpose:

Unfortunately, the Senate bill released last week falls far short of the House bill with regards to immigrant inclusion. Once again, immigrants continue to become the scapegoats and, if not corrected, this will result in a poisoning of the health care debate and the blocking of the real progress Americans need. Speaker Nancy Pelosi demonstrated pivotal leadership by standing strong against pressure from both sides of the aisle and the White House to exclude people from health reform. Today we are here in San Francisco representing millions of people in this country in support of health reform and urging her to remain strong.

Meanwhile, on the East coast, around 40 activists from CASA de Maryland and NAKASEC gathered outside of the infamous Representative Joe Wilson’s office to protest the scapegoating of immigrants that Wilson ignited with his “You lie” outburst during a joint session of Congress this September.

I love that the protestors outside of Joe Wilson’s office directly ask staffers how it makes sense to deny them the right to buy insurance with their own money, while still paying taxes and contributing positively to our country. The staffers have no idea what just hit them.


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ACTION: Stand up for immigration inclusion in health care!

This weekend, the Senate voted to open up debate on health care reform. Now is a critical time and with the possibility of compromises ahead, we want to make sure that immigrant inclusion is a part of any reform bill that goes to vote.

After the infamous Joe Wilson outburst last month, immigration has yet again become a flashpoint in the debate. At the moment, the Senate’s version of the bill will include a bar for any undocumented immigrant to even purchase health insurance with their own money and no federal subsidies. This is something I still can’t wrap my head around.

It [is] an insane argument on more than one level. Illegal immigrants are currently permitted to purchase a quart of milk at the corner grocery. Should that activity be banned, too? If an illegal immigrant showed up at an emergency room with a burst appendix, should that person be left to die? [via Slate]

When Congress and the administration allow the Joe Wilson’s of the world to set the tone of the debate, it will be the most vulnerable populations that are thrown under the bus.

Today, at 4pm, FIRM groups NAKASEC &KRCLA are leading a rally in front of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office to urge her to protect immigrant inclusion in health care reform.

We will have videos and pictures to update you throughout the day.

If you’re in San Francisco, hit the streets to help support (details here). In the mean time, visit NAKASEC’s blog to sign their petition to:

1.Make the federal government pay their fair share by removing their five year waiting period for legal immigrants in Medicaid and Medicare.

2.Make health reform affordable to everyone by allowing public access to purchase the public option in the new marketplace for health insurance.

3.Let everyone who subsidizes the health system to participate in it, and make informed health decisions, regardless of immigration status.

Sign the petition here.

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ACTION: Say NO to scapegoating immigrants to block health care reform

health care

Folks, we are in the home stretch of the long and brutal fight for health care reform. After months of vicious debate, this weekend the House of Representatives will be finally voting on the bill.  The truth is, we are still short the votes we need to finally pass this vital piece of legislation.

And, right on cue, the GOP is planning to use immigration as a wedge in order to derail this historic and important vote. The party of  “NO” is yet again using their favorite scapegoat, undocumented immigrants, to try and deny the American public the accessible health care it deserves.

We cannot stand by and let this happen. Pick up your phone NOW and call the Capitol Switchboard at 1-866-587-3023. Ask to be connected to your Representative. When you are connected tell them two things:

  1. Vote YES on the health care reform bill.
  2. Don’t allow the obstruction of health care by using undocumented immigrants as scapegoats.

I cannot stress how important it is that this bill NOT be blocked by Republicans using fear and xenophobia to push their own political agenda.

Tell your Senator to stop the scapegoating and pass real health care reform NOW.

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