(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that he's "very proud" to be introducing his "Medicare for All Act" on Wednesday.
And while liberal Democrats urge taxpayer-funded health care for all Americans, at least 14,000 non-Americans already have it -- right here in the USA.
"The ICE Health Service Corps administers direct care to 14,000 detained illegal aliens in 21 facilities across 10 states," the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency tweeted on Tuesday.
A second tweet said the ICE Health Service Corps is focused on the best patient outcomes, and this tweet linked to an ICE-generated article posted on the agency's website.
The article begins:
Manuel felt sudden intense chest pain and had difficulty breathing.
He knew something was terribly wrong and called out for his deportation officer. His current place of residence: a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Jena, Louisiana.
The deportation officer immediately announced a facility medical emergency and notified 911 while another staff member rushed over and began life-saving chest compressions on Manuel. The rest of the medical response team arrived within two minutes and observed Manuel was not breathing and pulseless. They assisted with providing emergency care, revived his vital signs and stabilized him until the ambulance arrived and transported him to the nearest hospital for additional care.
A typical day for the ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC).
ICE says its health corps consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, pharmacists, dentists and administrators. The 1,100-plus personnel include U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers, federal civil servants and contract health professionals.
These medical professionals undergo "a significant amount of training to ensure excellent detainee care," the article notes.
The article posted by ICE apparently comes in response to accusations by Human Rights Watch and others who have complained about substandard care at ICE detention facilities.
This past May, for example, Human Rights Watch produced a report examining "serious lapses in health care that have led to severe suffering and at times the preventable or premature death of individuals held in immigration detention facilities in the United States."
According to ICE, every detainee gets a full health assessment within two weeks of entering a detention center, and for some of them, it's the first time they've ever had a medical check-up.
"Detainees identified as high-risk during the intake process are moved to a higher level of care immediately," the article said. "If at any time a patient verbalizes an issue such as, 'I feel very bad' or 'I don’t have the medicine I need,' a nurse or mid-level practitioner has the authority to interact with a higher level medical provider to determine when the patient can be seen by a physician within 24 hours."
A "medical delivery care person" staffs each facility 24/7 "for direct patient access."
Dr. Luzviminda Peredo-Berger, chief medical officer of the ICE Health Service Corps, noted that for most people, seeing a private-practice doctor within 24 hours can be difficult, but the sick-call system at ICE detention centers means detainees are able to get quick attention when they need it.
"I’ve received thank you notes from patients who have said the health care they received from ICE has far exceeded anything they expected,” Peredo-Berger is quoted as saying.
The full article can be found here.
The provision of medical care to immigration detainees, many of them awaiting deportation or resolution of their legal cases, is authorized by federal law.