83 UMKC L. Rev. 207 (2014-2015)
Equal Protection Violations: An Asylum-Seeker's Right to Medicaid Benefits and Primary Health Care

handle is hein.journals/umkc83 and id is 213 raw text is: 



  EQUAL PROTECTION VIOLATIONS: AN ASYLUM-
    SEEKER'S RIGHT TO MEDICAID BENEFITS AND
                   PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

                             Jayne Bart-Plange*

                           I. INTRODUCTION

        Kadra Hassan fled her homeland and moved to Maine.' She subsequently
applied for asylum, and  was awaiting adjudication of her case.2 Ms. Hassan
suffered from  Stage 5 kidney  disease, a condition that required prescription
medication, kidney dialysis multiple times per week, and  regular visits to a
physician.' Although the state found her eligible for MaineCare benefits, she was
limited to emergency-only treatment because of her immigration  status.' As a
result, she was unable to continue dialysis treatment and was turned down for a
life-saving kidney transplant.
        Ms. Hassan's health condition continues to deteriorate to this day and
without  access to dialysis or a transplant, she will die.6 Had  the federal
government  allowed Ms.  Hassan  Medicaid  coverage as a qualified alien, she
would  have  received  much   needed  medical  attention. Unfortunately, Ms.
Hassan's story is all too common among  people who  seek asylum,  protection,
and a better life in the United States.
        Federal health care laws protect U.S. citizens and qualified aliens, and
allow them  access to health care. For other groups, this access is drastically
limited. The  Department  of  Homeland   Security created a  detailed set of
guidelines to help undocumented  aliens who  need emergency  care. What  the
department lacks, however, is a way to provide basic, primary care services for
asylum-seekers between  the application and adjudication of their claims. The
federal government physically protects asylum-seekers by allowing them to stay
in the country while awaiting adjudication, yet they are denied access to federal
aid and public services. If an asylum-seeker or his child falls ill during this period
of waiting, he is forced to pay for medical attention out-of-pocket. Rising health
care costs already place a burden on lower and middle-class American citizens.
Paying for health care is a near impossibility for people who fled their homelands
with their lives and little else.



* Jayne Bart-Plange is a member of the University of Missouri Kansas City Class of 2015. She
received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish from Loyola University
Chicago. Jayne was born to Ghanaian parents in London, England. Her family immigrated to the
United States in 1997. Jayne's experience as an immigrant encouraged her to pursue a career in law
and work for immigrants' rights.
' Bruns v. Mayhew, 931 F. Supp. 2d 260, 264 (D. Me. 2013).
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