Thursday, August 9, 2012

Health reform may expose immigrant status of millions

(Reuters) - As she was ushered into surgery eight years ago, Paula was confident that doctors at Washington's Howard University Hospital would find the cancer that had been growing in her right breast for months. She was less certain about where she would wake up the next day.

"I felt scared because of the stories in other states ... It was always in the back of my mind that a doctor, or an immigration officer dressed as a doctor, could take me," said Paula, 60, of the fear that she would be exposed as an undocumented immigrant and deported.

Still cancer-free, Paula, who asked to have her last name withheld, waits in the tiny chapel of La Clinica Del Pueblo, a community health clinic in Washington, DC, where she receives routine care.

She and other illegal immigrants worry that their ability to access healthcare at facilities like La Clinica will become even more risky once President Barack Obama's healthcare law takes effect. Read More