MEXICO AND EXPLAINS A SOLUTION
SOME SAY COULD HELP THEM.>>THE DOCTORS THINK I’VE HAD IT
FOR LIKE, ALL MY LIFE.>>RAUL IS TALKING ABOUT HIS
BRAIN
CONDITION THAT COULD TRIGGER
SEIZURES, AND CAUSE PANIC
ATTACKS. THINGS GOT BAD 4 YEARS AGO, WHEN
A BLOOD VESSEL MASS IN HIS BRAIN
BRAIN.>>I DIDN’T HAVE A DOCTOR. SOMEBODY FOUND ME UNCONSCIOUS,
AND THEY TOOK ME TO UNM
HOSPITAL.>>RAUL, LIKE SO MANY IN NEW
MEDICAL CARE. BUT HE LIVES IN THE U.S.,
ILLEGALLY, AND GETTING HEALTH
CARE HAS NOT COME CHEAP.>>RAUL HAS SINCE RECOVERED, BUT
STILL SUFFERS FROM OCCASIONAL
ANXIETY ATTACK
HE SHOWED US ONE OF HIS RECENT
MEDICAL BILLS, $772 FOR A VISIT
TO UNM HOSPITAL. BECAUSE OF HIS CONDITION, HE HAS
NO JOB AND NO WAY TO PAY FOR IT,
HIMSELF.>> IT DOES, BUT WHAT CAN I DO
ABOUT IT? I DON’T WANT TO BE STRESSED
ANYMORE.>>RAUL JOINS MILLIONS OF
UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE
IN A SIMILAR SITUATION. THE 10 AND A HALF MILLION
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS LIVING IN THE
U.S., ABOUT HALF, NEED
HEALTHCARE. UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS DO NOT
QUALIFY FOR MEDICAID OR
HEALTHCARE THROUGH THE FEDERAL
MARKETPLACE, ESTABLISHED BY THE
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. IMMIGRANTS UNDER DEFERRED ACTION
FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS OR DACA,
CANNOT APPLY FOR MEDICAID,
EITHER
FELIPE RODRIGUEZ, WHO WORKS WITH
THE NEW MEXICO DREAM TEAM, IS ALSO, UNDOCUMENTED.>>WE SEE HEALTHCARE AS A REALLY
BIG CHECK.>>SO FELIPE USUALLY OPTS FOR
HOME
REMEDIES.>>IF HOME REMEDIES DOESN’T
WHAT TO DO.>>HE SAYS THE LAST RESORT FOR
MANY
IMMIGRANTS IS GOING TO AN ACTUAL
DOCTOR. BECAUSE?>>THERE’S ALSO THIS, JUST LIKE,
FEAR. IN OUR COMMUNITY.>>FEAR OF DEPORTATION. SO WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU DON’T
GO ON REGULAR DOCTOR VISITS, OR
SKIP OUT ON PREVENTATIVE
CARE? WELL YOU MIGHT HAVE TO RESORT TO
THE E.R.ENDS UP BEING WHERE MANY
IMMIGRANTS COULD GET THEIR
SERVICES PAID FOR,
COMPLETELY. IT’S WHERE RAUL WAS TAKEN TO,
WHEN HE HAD HIS BRAIN BLEED,
YEARS AGO. AND FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDS FOOT
THE BILL IN NEW MEXICO. IT’S CALLED, EMERGENCY MEDICAL
SERVICES FOR ALIENS, OR
EMSA
>>WHICH WILL COVER AN EMERGENCY
SITUATION FOR A NON CITIZEN
INDIVIDUAL WITH NO IMMIGRANT STATUS.>>SHANITA HARRISON OVERSEES
INCOME
SUPPORT OFFICES, FOR THE STATE
HER OFFICE DETERMINES HEALTHCARE
ELIGIBILITY FOR ALL KINDS OF
IMMIGRANT STATUSES FROM THOSE ASYLUM SEEKERS. BUT FOR THE UNDOCUMENTED WHO
CAN’T RECEIVE TRADITIONAL
MEDICAID BENEFITS, EMSA IS OFTEN
WHAT COMES TO THE RESCUE.>>TYPICALLY, YOU’LL TALK TO THE
HOSPITAL WILL UNDERSTAND THAT
YOU’RE UNINSURED, AND THAT YOU
NEED HELP. SUBMIT EMSA APPLICATION ON YOUR
BEHALF, TO THE HUMAN SERVICES
DEPARTMENT.>>BUT NOT EVERYONE FULLY AGREES
WITH THIS PROCESS. NEW MEXICO G.O.P. CHAIRMAN STEVE
PEARCE SAYS HE’S HAD TO CONSIDER
TAX PAYING CITIZENS, WHEN HE
SERVED AS CONGRESSMAN OF THE
DISTRICT SPANNING SOUTHERN NEW
MEXICO.>>ALL OF US HAVE A SYMPATHETIC
EAR
TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO COME WITH
DESPERATE PROBLEMS. BUT THE
AVERAGE PERSON WHO COMES HERE
ILLEGALLY GETTING FREE HEALTHCARE, IS ONE THAT IS
REALLY OFFENSIVE TO A LOT OF
VOTERS WHO HAVE LIVED HERE THEIR
ENTIRE LIFE.>>SO HOW MUCH, HAS THE
GOVERNMENT SHELLED OUT TO SUBSIDIZE
HOSPITAL COSTS FOR EMERGENCY
EMSA CLAIMS TOTALED $9.7
MILLION, IN FISCAL YEAR 2019,
ACCORDING
TO THE HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT. $2.7 MILLION OF THAT WAS STATE
MEDICAID FUNDS. WHILE THE REST, WERE FEDERAL
DOLLARS. THE HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT
APPLICATIONS IN A GIVEN
MONTH. HARRISON POINTS OUT, MORE THAN A
MILLION PEOPLE IN THE STATE,
RECEIVE MEDICAID BENEFITS.>> SO IT IS A FRACTION OF OUR
PERCENTAGE OF OUR OVERALL TOTAL
COST.>>THE QUESTION IS, COULD THIS
BE
AVOIDED ALTOGETHER?>>WE WANT TO TRY TO CATCH
PROBLEMS
BEFORE THEY BECOME EMERGENCIES
AND CREATE A HEALTH CRISIS THAT
COSTS A LOT.>>NONPROFIT GROUP, HEALTH
ACTION
NEW MEXICO ADVOCATES FOR
HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. THEIR PROPOSED SOLUTION, IS TO
EXPAND MEDICAID, AND ALLOW
PEOPLE, INCLUDING NON CITIZENS
LIVING IN NEW MEXICO, TO BUY IN
TO MEDICAID OPTIONS.>>WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IS
ACTUALLY OPENING IT UP, SO
PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY PURCHASE
THAT COVERAGE IF THEY DON’T
QUALIFY FOR IT.>>CALIFORNIA, FOR EXAMPLE, IS
ALREADY MAKING MOVES TO EXPAND
ITS MEDICAID PROGRAMS TO YOUNG,
UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. BUT WHETHER ALL NEW MEXICANS ARE
ON BOARD WITH THAT HAPPENING
HERE, IS UNCERTAIN.>>TO SAY THAT WE’RE GOING TO
EXPAND THAT GROUP BY THE
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
WHO ARE COMING IN HERE, IS A
BURDEN THAT PEOPLE WHO HAVE PAID
INTO THE SYSTEM THEIR ENTIRE LIVES, SAY ‘WAIT. WHAT ABOUT ME. I DON’T GET IT FREE OF
CHARGE.’.>>FOR RAUL, HE’S JUST GRATEFUL
EMSA PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN
AVAILABLE, TO HELP HIM.>>BECAUSE IF IT WASN’T FOR THAT
PROGRAM, I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO
AFFORD MEDICAL CARE.>>IN ALBUQUERQUE, CHRISTINE
PAE,
KOAT ACTION 7 NEWS. SHELLY: THE NEW MEXICO
DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH PROVIDES SAFETY NET
SERVICES REGARDLESS OF
IMMIGRATION STATUS, AT PUBLIC
HEALTH OFFICES STATEWIDE. THAT INCLUDES, WIC, PREVENTATIVE
MEDICINE LIKE ANNUAL CHECKUPS,
FAMILY PLANN