When Others Get Too Close: Immigrants, Class, and the Health Care Debate

53 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2010

See all articles by Janet Dolgin

Janet Dolgin

Hofstra University - School of Law

Katherine Rouse Dieterich


Date Written: June 14, 2010


This article is part of a project aimed at analyzing the long-standing resistance in the United States to universal health care coverage. “When Others Get Too Close” focuses on one genre of anti-immigrant rhetoric, describes some of the socio-economic factors underlying that rhetoric, and reviews the implications of that rhetoric for the debate about health care reform in the United States.

More specifically, the article examines the relevance of America’s highly competitive class system to the nation’s responses to both health care reform and immigration reform. The opacity of the class system has intensified anxiety within the middle class about safeguarding its place in the nation’s socio-economic hierarchy. That anxiety undergirds both anti-immigrant narratives and opposition to a national system of universal health care coverage.

In supporting its claims, the article analyzes a set of judicial and legislative responses to undocumented immigrants in need of health care. It focuses, in particular, on the troubling story of Luis Jimenez, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who was deported to Guatemala at the initiative of the Florida hospital where he was being treated for injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Keywords: undocumented immigrants, health care disparities, class and health care, health care reform (US),

JEL Classification: I10, I12, I19

Suggested Citation

Dolgin, Janet and Dieterich, Katherine Rouse, When Others Get Too Close: Immigrants, Class, and the Health Care Debate (June 14, 2010). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 283, 2010, Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1624913

Janet Dolgin (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

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