Life-saving care is out of reach for many undocumented immigrants

One of the most important pieces of advice Daniel Aguado-Ornelas gives to Mexican immigrants — both legal and undocumented — has to do with health care.

“If you’re living here, you should get medical insurance,” says Aguado-Ornelas, the director of legal affairs for the Mexican consulate in Kansas City. “Get a private one, because you won’t be able to get a public one.”

But he’s not naïve. He knows many can’t afford to follow his recommendation.

Working in a local laundry, ironing clothes, Karina Loredo couldn’t spare the money to buy a private policy. Since her son, Eduardo, was diagnosed with a serious heart disorder this summer, she’s had to rely on the good will of Children’s Mercy Hospital, because government health coverage for low income families doesn’t apply to the undocumented.

Because of his young age and serious condition, Eduardo Loredo’s situation is unique. But it’s hardly uncommon.

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