Let's See... How Else Can We Kick Immigrants in the Teeth?

Somehow, a fence just isn't enough... I've got it! Let's deny healthcare to non-English speaking people!
Executive Order 13166, signed by President Clinton on August 11, 2000, improves quality health care access for all patients, regardless of their primary language. This executive order requires Medicare and Medicaid providers to offer limited-English-proficiency (LEP) patients with a full interpreter or translator services in their own language.

This week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) plans to offer an amendment that repeals this mandate. A look at some current problems Coburn's amendment would make worse:
  • Parents with limited English proficiency are three times more likely than parents who report speaking English "very well" to have a child in fair or poor health.
  • Parents often report language barriers as the single greatest issue to garnering access to health care.
  • 19 percent of Spanish-speakers report having forgone needed health treatment due to a language barrier.
In other words, we don't care if you're a citizen, an illegal immigrant, or other. Speak English, or go die.

When I was working in the pharmacy, we had a very diverse patient population. Most of the patients were in the LGBT community; it was a health clinic set up specifically to help LGBT patients. But we also had a huge Latino population (most non-English speaking, and with health insurance), and an assisted-living/senior care facility across the street that provided many patients. Many of the facility residents were European immigrants, and many had trouble with the English language, if they spoke it at all. Our pharmacy (Walgreens) had the computer system set up with "language preference" software. If we, for example, tagged a patient that they preferred to speak Russian, all of their instructions, pill case labels, and forms were printed out in Russian.

I guess Coburn would like that software deleted. And our Spanish-speaking staff to remain mum.

Completely reprehensible and disgusting. How far will this hysterical xenophobia go?

(Tip of the energy dome to August.)

(I put a cross-post on you...)

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