KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Senate Immigration Bill Could Boost Health Care Workforce

News outlets report that the plan could make it easier for foreign-born doctors to come to the United States while reducing the dependence of newly legal immigrants on emergency rooms.

Politico: Immigration Bill Could Import Foreign-Born Doctors
The immigration bill might have a partial solution to the doctor shortage in underserved areas: import them. Or more precisely, make it easier for foreign physicians who come to the U.S. for their medical residencies to stay on after their training — if they’ll then serve three years where they are most needed (Cunningham, 4/22).

Modern Healthcare: Boost To Healthcare Workforce Could Come From Immigration Bill
A bipartisan Senate immigration bill could boost the nation's healthcare workforce, in addition to expanding coverage to millions of newly legal residents. The 844-page Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which was introduced Thursday, would provide a legalization process for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants. Although the bill bars access to public benefits during a transitional period, the newly legal residents could qualify for private insurance for the first time—possibly reducing their dependence on emergency rooms, according to health policy experts (Daly and Zigmond, 4/19).

Also in the health policy headlines from Capitol Hill -

Politico: Mental Health Advocacy Hits Reset
Mental health advocates hitched a ride on the gun control wagon. Now the wagon is stuck. After the Sandy Hook school killings, all sides of the gun control divide agreed that mass shootings — Tucson, Aurora and Newtown, among them — highlighted inadequacies in the U.S. mental health care system. Some opponents of any new gun restrictions framed the problem as primarily a mental health crisis. From their viewpoint, guns don't kill, mentally ill people do (Kenen and Cunningham, 4/21).

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