Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Before the Reform

Below are a couple of personal stories of patients who have experienced sorrows because of the Health Care system before the Reform.

Erin Walker is a 25-year old college student who has no health insurance. Currently, she has a hole in her spine and is unable to do many things, including her favorite things to do which are run and ride horses. There is a surgery that could fix the whole in her spine, but she cannot afford the surgery’s astronomical price. She cannot even afford the antibiotics that would lessen the pain that she goes through every day.  Since it is considered a preexisting condition, Erin’s health care does not cover her medical situation. Erin states, “Sometimes I wonder how much business we have helping other countries when we can’t even help our own.”

A couple of years ago, Brian Salmon was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Luckily, he had medical insurance, but it took him multiple years to pay the thousands of dollars off from the medical bills. Brian’s cancer went into remission, but he still had to go to the hospital for the next three years for follow-up visits. Three years after he went into remission, Brian’s insurance company informed him that they no longer considered his hospital a provider for their plans and if he wanted to be covered he must switch hospitals. Brian was heartbroken. He explains, “I had developed a relationship with the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital. They had been there during some of the toughest times of my life.” Also, he believes that the Health Care system is very unfair because it is biased towards the wealthy.

“I’m frustrated by the healthcare system,” says Evonne Hilton from Seattle, Washington. She was in a fairly good health care system and had a manageable plan, when she fell and very seriously damaged her head.  The doctors that treated her after the fall did not perform a diagnostic scan on her head; instead she was seen by a doctor and discharged from the emergency room with no other treatment. For several years, she found herself on the streets because she could not keep her job due to severe memory loss and an inability to function properly.  Since the recent Health Care Reform, Evonne lives on social security disability provided to her by Medicaid, in which she is able to pick her doctor and hospital.

Works Cited
Saib, Daina. "Health Care Stories from Patients, Doctors, and Activists by Daina Saib." YES! Magazine — Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions — YES! Magazine. Positive Futures Network, 6 Aug. 2006. Web. 29 Nov. 2011. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Catholic Church's Position on Immigration

Why are immigration policies a major concern of the Catholic Church? 
In the past, the Catholic Church has held a strong interest in the injustices regarding immigration and how public policy affects the immigrants who are searching for a new beginning in the United States. Today, the Catholic Church still continues to have a strong concern for the marginalized men, women, and families who are affected by the harsh immigration policies that the United States has established. The Church uses Scriptural passages, Catholic social teachings, and also her own experience as an immigrant Church in a new country (United States) as a firm ground to use her voice to speak on behalf of the immigrants whose God-given rights are being violated everyday. Therefore, the marginalized immigrants are not able to reach their full human potential as God had planned for them. The Church thinks that many immigrants are being victimized and their human dignity is degraded on behalf of the current immigration laws and guidelines that we have today. Also, families are being torn apart and families have been kept from seeing each other which does not promote the Church’s intention of marriage.  The Catholic Church’s intention of marriage is to have children and raise them as children of Faith to follow the mission of the Church. The Catholic Church feels that she has an obligation to help correct the immigration system to form just laws and policies that serves the common good. She wants to share the message of God to not only allow immigrants to reach their full potential possible, but also serve the common good of our nation by establishing proper security. 
Does the Catholic Church defend/encourage illegal immigration?
         The Catholic Bishops do not excuse illegal entry or circumvention (a way of avoiding restrictions imposed by a rule or law without actually breaking it) of the immigration laws our nation has established. However, they do believe reforms are absolutely a must in order for an improvement to our immigration systems. They believe that many changes have occurred, especially the reason why immigrants are compelled to immigrate to the United States. As a result, U.S. immigration guidelines and policies need to be updated to reflect these new changes. 

Works Cited
"Frequently Asked Questions." Justice for Immigrants. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 22 Aug. 2005. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Elvira Arellano Won't Stop Fighting

Elvira Arellano has become a national symbol of the fight for rights of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and an activist for illegal immigrant parents as she disregarded her deportation order.

Here is her story:
            Elvira illegally entered the United States in 1997, but was soon deported back to Mexico by the United States government. Within a couple of days, she returned to the United States and lived illegally for three years in Oregon. She gave birth to baby boy, Saul, who happens to be a U.S. citizen.  In 2000, a year after Saul was born, Elvira moved to Chicago and worked at the airport. On August 15, 2006, Elvira was ordered to appear before the immigration authorities on the account of being arrested and convicted of working under a false Social Security number. On that exact date, she and her son took refuge in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago.  For a year, she took refuge in the church to avoid being separated from her U.S.-born son. She explains, “From the time I took sanctuary, the possibility has existed that they arrest me in the place and time they want. I only have two choices. I either go to my country, Mexico, or stay and keep fighting. I decided to stay and fight.” In response, Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says, “Just because the woman has gone public and made an issue of the fact that she is defying law doesn’t mean the government doesn’t have to do its job.” Mexican lawmakers tried to urge the United States government to suspend the deportation of Elvira and other parents of children who are United States citizens.  However, nine months later, she was arrested by U.S. federal agents in compliance with an existing deportation order and was accompanied to the border of Mexico. Repeatedly, Elvira has appealed for a stop to immigration raids that break up families with some member who in the United States legally and others illegally. She believes her son would be deprived of his rights as a U.S. citizen if had to go to Mexico simply because she did. While Elvira is currently still in Mexico, her son Saul is living with the pastor who started the sanctuary at the Church he and his mom took refuge in. As how Saul is doing, “He’s taking it better than we thought 

Works Cited
Hing, Julianne. "Elvira Arellano Keeps Her Promises, Won’t Stop Fighting." COLORLINES. 11 May 2009. Web. 08 Nov. 2011. 
Prengaman, Peter. "Immigration Activist Deported to Mexico." Breitbart.com. The Associated Press, 20 Aug. 2007. Web. 08 Nov. 2011. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marcelas Owens: 11 Year Old Activist

Marcelas Owens gets a pat from Vice President Joe Biden as President  Barack Obama  signs the health care reform. 
 “Health care is not a privilege, it’s a right,” Owens said. Marcelas Owens proves that you are never too young to become involved with something that you care so deeply about. On March 10, 2010, Marcelas Owens, an 11-year-old from Seattle, was the star of a press conference with Senate Democratic leadership. He did not let his youth interfere with his confidence as he told a room full of reporters, “…I want Barack Obama and Congress and everybody to come together and to help get the health care bill passed.” Next, Marcus told the room his personal story and how he has had to face hardships in losing his mother because of the harshly expensive health care in the United States. “I am here because of my mom," explains Owens. “My mom was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2006. She missed so much work she lost her job. And when my mom lost her job, she lost her health care. And losing her health care ended up costing her her life.”  When asked of his reasons for promoting a health care reform he states, “I don’t want any other kids to go through the pain that our family has gone through. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agrees with Owens and continues to say that Marcelas’s story confirms in blatant terms why the country needs this health insurance form. Harry Reid says, “When she lost her job, she lost her health insurance. Because she lost her health insurance, she lost her life.”
Twelve days later, Marcelas happened to get a call from the White House. Then, that night he took the red-eye flight to Washington D.C. On March 23, 2010, Marcelas’s dreams came true as he stood by President Barack Obama’s side as he signed the health care reform into law. President Obama told the audience that he was signing the heal care reform in honor of Marcelas’s mother and in memory of her life here on earth. The health care reform makes health care more affordable, holds insurers accountable, and expands coverage to all Americans.  Today, the health care bill has expanded coverage to over 32 million Americans.
 Works Cited
Delaney, Arthur. "Marcelas Owens, 11-Year-Old Whose Mother Died Without Health Insurance: 'Get The Health Care Bill Passed'" Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Huffington Post News, 11 Mar. 2010. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. 
Guzman, Monica. "Marcelas Owens’ Big Day: Seattle Boy Spent It with Obama" Blogs - Seattlepi.com. Hearst Seattle Media, 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. 
Kahn, Huma. "ABCNews.com - Breaking News, Politics, Online News, World News, Feature Stories, Celebrity Interviews and More - ABC News." ABCNews.com: Daily News, Breaking News and Video Broadcasts - ABC News. ABC News, 22 Mar. 2010. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Crisis of American Health Care

Possessing skillful doctors, advanced medicines, and state of the art equipment, the United States claims that there healthcare industry ranks among the best. Healthcare is the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health, especially through the provision of medical services, such as doctors and nurses. The American healthcare system outspends all other countries on health per person. However, the people of the United States people receive a lower level of care than do the citizens of many countries that spend less on their healthcare systems. Many of the elderly and poor people receive healthcare through government organizations. Medicare, a government organization, reimburses hospitals and physicians for medical care provided to qualifying people over 65 years old. Another organization, Medicaid, that reimburses hospitals and physicians for providing care to qualifying people who cannot finance their own medical expenses. Sixty percent of Americans have coverage through employment based health insurances. Health insurance is insurance against expenses acquired through illness of the insured, for example if a person breaks their leg the majority of the medical bill would be covered and the person would only have to pay a fraction of the bill as a deductible. Yet, 47 million Americans are uninsured, which would mean they would have to pay the entire medical bill if for example they broke their leg. On the other hand, the rising costs of individual health care and the price of maintaining the government organizations dedicated to providing healthcare to the poor and elderly has put a strain on the economy of the United States. Peter R. Orszag, an American economist, states, “It is no exaggeration to say that the United States' standing in the world depends on its success in constraining this health-care cost explosion; unless it does, the country will eventually face a severe fiscal crisis or a crippling inability to invest in other areas.” Orszag’s comment has somewhat become true because state governments have had to divert funds from education to health care. He believes that the only solution to the increasing health is, "there is no credible path to reducing the long-term fiscal imbalance in the United States other than directly addressing high-cost cases in health care." 

Works Cited 

Orszag, Peter R. "How Health Care Can Save or Sink America.Foreign Affairs. Jul/Aug 2011: 42. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 23 Oct 2011.
ProQuest Staff. "Topic Overview: Health Care.ProQuest LLC. 2011: n.pag. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 23 Oct 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Immigration: Our Wants Vs. Their Needs

Who exactly is an immigrant?
An immigrant is a foreign-born person who has been allowed to live permanently in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), according to the United States law. An undocumented immigrant is an individual who illegally resides in the United States without the permission of the American government.

How does an Immigrant obtain permission to reside in the United States?
Normally, there are three ways an immigrant can become a LPR. First, an American citizen can sponsor their foreign-born family member through family-sponsored immigration. Secondly, in the course of employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor a person for a particular job, only when there is a lack of availability of American workers. Lastly, an immigrant can win a visa in the yearly diversity visa lottery.

Myths about Immigrants that lead to Injustice
Currently, there are many myths circulating around the United States about the negative affect immigration can have on our country. For example, a popular myth among American citizens is that immigrants do not want to learn English. Even thought the first generation of immigrants may have a hard time learning a new, complex language, the second and third generations of immigrants can speak English fluently. Also, many Americans allege that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, do not pay taxes. This statement is in fact false because immigrants, including undocumented ones, pay both state and federal taxes. In addition, immigrants contribute to Medicare and provide about seven billion dollars a year to the Social Security Fund, which benefits Americans. Lastly, Americans believe that immigrants have increased the crime rate of the United States. However, recent research has shown that immigrant communities have committed fewer crimes than American citizens. Actually, violent crime decreased by 34% even though the number of undocumented immigrants has doubled.

The Catholic Church’s View on Immigration
            The Church is obligated to raise her voice on behalf of the immigrants who have been marginalized, whose God-given human rights are not respected, and whose dignity is not fully able to function as a human being. Also, the Church believes that today’s immigration policies not only demoralize the immigrants’ human dignity, but have separated many families. The Church strives to create an immigration system that serves for the common good, for both the immigrants and the United States. 

Works Cited
"Facts and Figures." Justice for Immigrants. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 22 Aug. 2005. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. Print.