$3.75 Million For Migrant Health In Tiny GA Village

“Clarkston, GA is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Over 2,500 refugees every year find themselves relocated in the small town just miles outside of metro-Atlanta.” Image: shepherdconsortium.org

“Vietnamese churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples, multi ethnic mosques and Eritrean Methodist congregations” in Georgia village to benefit from influx of U.S. taxpayer dollars

| AJC.com – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded Georgia State University a $3.75 million grant to address the health and health disparities affecting America’s refugee and migrant communities.

According to the CDC, the programs “will develop, test, and/or evaluate public health interventions for wide application, particularly in underserved communities, based on the latest science.”

The GSU center will be based at Clarkston, GA (pop. 12,848) in the “the most ethnically diverse square mile in America.”

“Mental health problems among refugees are very common”

Michael Eriksen, interim vice president for research and economic development at Georgia State, said in a news release:

“Nationally, very little is being done to address issues affecting refugee communities, and having a campus inside Clarkston presents a tremendous opportunity to work with a population that’s in need of support and research.” [TRUE? See coverage below from Forbes. – Ed.]

The DeKalb County community is a unique haven for refugees and migrants, a place “where residents can encounter Vietnamese churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples, multi-ethnic mosques and Eritrean Methodist congregations within a mile’s walk,” according to Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry.

The new center will be led by Daniel Whitaker, GSU professor and co-director of the National SafeCare Training and Research Center, whose team will primarily focus on developing “the first systematic effort in the nation to develop culturally and linguistically relevant care and interventions for migrant and refugee children.”

“Mental health problems among refugees are very common,” Whitaker said, noting young children are particularly vulnerable. “And the need for public health interventions focused on refugee mental health continues to grow.”

According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 258 million international migrants—and 763 million internal migrants—around the globe.

“The recent large-scale population movement has posed epidemiological and health system challenges, to which public health and health systems must adjust,” WHO reports on its website. Read more. 

How American Citizens Finance $18.5 Billion In Health Care For Unauthorized Immigrants

Chris Conover, Contributor

FORBES – Current federal policy is to prohibit direct federal tax funding of health care to unauthorized immigrants through either Medicaid or Obamacare.

Nevertheless, rough estimates suggest that the nation’s 3.9 million uninsured immigrants who are unauthorized likely receive:

  • about $4.6 billion in health services paid for by federal taxes, $2.8 billion in health services financed by state and local taxpayers,
  • another $3.0 bankrolled through “cost-shifting” i.e., higher payments by insured patients to cover hospital uncompensated care losses,
  • And roughly $1.5 billion in physician charity care.

In addition to these amounts, unauthorized immigrants likely benefit from at least $0.9 billion in implicit federal subsidies due to the tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals and another $5.7 billion in tax expenditures from the employer tax exclusion.

All told, Americans cross-subsidize health care for unauthorized immigrants to the tune of $18.5 billion a year. Of this total, federal taxpayers provided $11.2 billion in subsidized care to unauthorized immigrants in 2016.

In this post, I describe in more detail current policy, current sources of funding for health care of unauthorized immigrants. In a follow-on post, I will offer four independent reasons federal tax funding for such care is a bad idea (that is, a reader need only accept one, not all, in order to conclude we should dispense with such funding).

Current Policy Regarding Federal Funding of Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants

The purported intent of federal policy is to prevent federal tax dollars from being used to fund health care for unauthorized immigrants except in extreme circumstances.

Notwithstanding express prohibitions contained in the statutes related to Medicaid and Obamacare, there also are companion federal programs that permit federal funding to be used for health care of unauthorized immigrants indirectly.

Where Use of Federal Dollars to Fund Health Care for Unauthorized Immigrants is Expressly Prohibited

  • Medicaid. Under Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), no federal funding may be used to cover unauthorized immigrants, except for payment for limited emergency services. Read more. 

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