Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How Trump’s travel ban threatens health care, in 3 charts

Our health system is heavily reliant on foreigners.

By Julia Belluz and Sarah Frostenson  Updated Jun 26, 2018, 2:45pm EDT

The Supreme Court’s decision allowing the third iteration of President Trump’s travel ban to become permanent immigration policy could have far-reaching effects on the health care system because of a little-appreciated fact: That system relies heavily on foreigners, including foreigners from the list of seven banned countries.

In a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the court upheld the current version of the travel ban — which means the administration can refuse some immigrants and visa holders from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen entry to the US. This means would-be doctors, nurses, and home care aides (or their family members) from these countries will have a hard time entering the US, even when they qualify for the administration’s waiver program.

In many ways, the health system is already stretched too thin, with scarcely enough people spread evenly across the country to do many difficult jobs. And a letter from the American Medical Association to the Secretary of Homeland Security on an earlier Trump travel ban spelled out this immigration policy could make the situation worse by "creating unintended consequences."

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