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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Wilson’

Illegal Immigrants as the Last Frontier of Welfare – Didier Fassin

December 2, 2009 3 comments

 

Didier Fassin
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

This is a note of circumstance in two ways. First, it was written as the prelude to a lecture on “Global Health” delivered at the Conference of the Society for Medical Anthropology at Yale University in September 2009; it must therefore be placed in this broader perspective. Second, it refers to a scene I found significant in the early period of the debate around health care reform in the United States. However, I do not want to be seen as following the crowd of critics of this courageous and indispensable reform always deferred. Thus this fragment must be considered simultaneously within this specific context and outside of it, since it is meant to evoke the larger question of which members a society may exclude from its solidarity (and I refer here to “members” because people who live, work and die in a given society can claim membership whatever their citizenship and status). Read more…

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“You Lie!”: Going Beyond the Obama-Wilson Debate – Josiah Heyman

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Josiah Heyman
University of Texas at El Paso

Representative Joe Wilson famously interrupted President Obama’s health care speech to Congress by shouting “you lie,” just after the President had said that proposed legislation would not provide access to health insurance for undocumented immigrants.  Factually, Wilson was wrong.  The legislation indeed restricts the undocumented from receiving its benefits.  But the central assumption of the debate itself is wrong.  Obama claimed that a rigid line had been drawn; Wilson that it was not rigid enough.  But on close examination the rigid line fades from sight.

In public health, our fates are connected.  The H1N1 flu is a mild reminder of this.  When there is a more severe pandemic, we will regret frightening off and making access hard for any of our biological neighbors.  To offer a different, but I hope even more persuasive angle: health care access is a matter of mutual moral obligations, a network of ties accumulated throughout society.  I know a 100-year-old woman, still in good health but needing a bit of attention.  She herself is an immigrant, a citizen and retiree after years of marginalization and hard labor.  Her caregiver is undocumented, undergoing the same life of sweat and stigma in the present day.  They owe each other their existence.  They depend on each other for their health. Read more…