Sunday, November 05, 2006

But... but... What about Our Culture of Life?!

Okay, is this really how we want to be known? As people so selfish, so single-minded, and so hypocritical that our nation does stuff like this? From the NYT:
Under a new federal policy, children born in the United States to illegal immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid, Bush administration officials said Thursday.
(Y'all want me to say something about the fact that this sentence manages to turn "U.S. citizens" into "children born in the United States," don't you?) Highlights:
Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child’s citizenship.

The documentation requirements took effect in July, but some states have been slow to enforce them, and many doctors are only now becoming aware of the effects on newborns.

Obtaining a birth certificate can take weeks in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they said, illegal immigrant parents may be reluctant to go to a state welfare office to file applications because they fear contact with government agencies that could report their presence to immigration authorities.
Now, let me look at this little piece of legislation through the lens of my knowledge of medicaid. From what I remember, while in the hospital, a newborn used to be covered under Mom's medicaid (for undocumented moms, this would be emergency medicaid. Don't get me started on how we say "Fuck prenatal care! All we can begrudgingly offer you help with is labor."). Then, baby got her/his own coverage for the first year of life. You could apply to have coverage continued after that.

So now there will be no automatic extension of coverage until the child's citizenship is proved? And this only applies to certain parents? Words like "discrimination" and "desperation" are running through my head, but first, I have to ask one question.

Why do you have to prove citizenship of a child that is born in the U.S.? Can someone explain that to me? Did I miss the repeal of the 14th Amendment? Sarcasm aside, I really don't understand this.

Let me look at something else--acceptable proof comes in the form of the child's birth certificate. My child was born in early July. I got his birth certificate in late November/early December. Five months. Let's imagine a newborn going without care for five months. How do parents pay for:

The 2 weeks check-up where the PKU will be repeated?
The 4 weeks check-up?
The 2 months check-up at which the child needs DTP, Hib, OPV, HBV vaccinations? (Vaccinations at a doctor's office can be pricey!)
The 4 months check-up at which the child needs DTP, HIB, OPV vaccinations?

Oh, and perhaps you just get the birth certificate in your hands at five months. You still have to go file for coverage (assuming you are comfortable enough to go into a government office*, which, we all know, they're hoping you're not). In the interim, your child may also need her/his 6 months check up and vaccinations.

And what about:

If baby has jaundice?
If baby gets sick?
If baby doesn't adjust to formula or isn't receiving enough breast milk?
If baby develops thrush?
If baby cries a lot and you don't know why?

And all those other reasons we take our babies to the doctor in those early days.

Sometimes I wonder, when things like this come up, does anyone sit down and say, "You know, it's really not worth the health and well-being of our children to take this opportunity to bash immigrants once again."

And the irony of it is, once these parents, who can't get routine, preventative care, start taking their children to emergency rooms for overpriced care, this administration and its xenophobic base can start saying "Ah-hah! We told you they were a drain on local resources!"

I'm tired of the hypocrisy of conservatives. I want them to let me write their slogans. I'd come up with something snazzy like, "We love all life... right up until birth. And then we care about life if it belongs to an American. And typically, a white American. And truthfully, a wealthy, white American. And, specifically, a wealthy, white American born to married, heterosexual parents..."

But all those qualifiers get tiresome.

H/T to Feministe. Phantom Scribbler has more. (Y'all know my trackback skills leave much to be desired... somehow, I'm thinking that link is not supposed to show up like that!)

*My son's paternal grandmother, who is a social service analyst in Louisiana, says that undocumented immigrants can apply for services for their children and that the analysts may not report their status to other agencies. However, she says that parents have to be constantly reassured of this and many of them simply decide they don't want the potentially damning paper trail.


Abadiebitch said...

One could get a birth certificate within a week or so, however that one has to have the confidence to push. For instance, the birth certificate has to be signed by the delivering doctor, I remember catching my doctor and the birth certificate clerk at the same time and making them deal with right there. I used the excuse of wanting the decorated (not real) certficate to look as real as possible for keepsake. After the doctor signs it the medical record department or whatever department is housing the birth certificate clerk has to be on top of their game. When I worked in Gulfport, MS, the birth certificate clerk only did one mailing a month to save postage, because the budget only allowed her so much postage. Then when the vital statistics get it they have to stamped it approved and process it. Then if the parents are on top of their game they can go straight to the vital records (because asking for it through the mail is a whole other game) and pay for it, after proving who they are to the child. They can get a copy right in their hands. If one does not want to wait, they have to harass the doctor (I have worked with them on their medical records, it is a big pissing contest because they do not think anyone should tell them when they should have to do something), then harass the clerk, then harass the vital records, all which will more than likely not listen to you unless you can deal with them in their face, and most of the time you cannot.

Punk ASS BITCHES!!!!!!

elle said...

One could get a birth certificate within a week or so, however that one has to have the confidence to push.

a birth cerificate or the certificate of birth that the hospital issues? because my son's real birth certificate wasn't even filed til September 18th and was issued November 9th. though i suppose the fact that we were in Louisiana is a factor :-)

you can get your birth certificate in Lousiana now in cities other than Baton Rouge, but that's only if they've been issued--you can get a "copy."

and i realize my son's case may have been an anomaly. i checked my nephew's birth c. after reading your comment. He was born at the end of August and the birth c. was issued by the end of October.

but we know this isn't about time; it's about discouraging and frightening people, about making citizenship, like everything else in the company, be some sort of hierarchical system.

wish me luck on posting :-)

Abadiebitch said...

I should have worded it differently. They can get it in a week if they are successful at that pushing. However, what percent of people are even comfortable with the pushing. Especially immigrants. Do you think immigrants are going to nag everyone into hurrying the process? No. I don't even have that courage, or I should say the tack or the know how to get them to push it. But I am sure people that know people could get it done. Which is my point I guess. They have set it up in a way that you suffer unless you know someone. Who knows someone that can move mountains other than people like Bush and his ilk. The policy is against the people and the people has a right to be outraged by it.

Abadiebitch said...

In another vein their (da man) waste no time getting a SS# assigned to a newborn. That child has a SS# within a week of being discharge. Funny how the system that will make the system money is streamlined, but the system that may help the common man is muddled.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

I'm telling you we are regressing as a society. Racism is going to get more and more glaring and upfront. And if we don't do something soon, we're going to wake up in a cotton field like how the heck did that happen. The idiot president is taking away civil liberties... now children born here are no longer citizens... what next...

Anonymous said...

all i can say is wtf. were there any women who had had a child in the room to be like, yo, it took me two months to get mine. of was that woman so brainwashed by these racist idiots that she was like, "it took me 2 months to get mine!" hahhah now maybe some of them will die. becasue basically, isn't that what they want to happen when they refuse care in the most critical time? what's next, cancer patients who are latino must wait 6 months for therapy to begin so that they can prove something.

and btw, that really is the slogan of conservatives, elle. i couldn't agree more.

Phantom Scribbler said...

This is exactly it, and expressed frickin' perfectly, too. And what Gwynneth Bolton said: damn straight that it is about racism. It is about considering Latino children to be non-citizens until proven otherwise. It is about further disenfranchising people of color.

(Witness what happened to our Republican gubernatorial candidate -- I'm in Massachusetts -- who's been all about the immigrant-bashing these days. She was totally shocked when she was catcalled and booted out of an Irish culture festival that she'd gone to for the easy photo-op she thought she'd get out of it. Because it had apparently never occurred to her that white people -- like, say, the Irish -- might be illegal immigrants, too.)

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...