"We Cannot Let Them Die": Undocumented Immigrants and Media Framing of Health Deservingness in the United States

Anahí Viladrich
Qualitative Health Research 2019 March 24, : 1049732319830426
Based on a systematic qualitative analysis of articles published by The New York Times (2009-2017), this article presents the main media frames that support the access to government-sponsored health care by undocumented immigrants, just before and after passage of the U.S. Affordable Care Act in 2010. Under the umbrella of "selective inclusion," this study highlights a "compassionate frame" that conveys sympathy toward severely ill, undocumented immigrants. This approach is reinforced by a "cost-control" frame that underlines the economic benefits of providing health care to the undocumented immigrant population in the United States. Supported by both humane and market-based approaches, these frames make a compelling case for the inclusion of particular groups into the U.S. health care safety net. Ultimately, these findings contribute to our understanding of the media framing of undocumented immigrants' right to health care on the basis of deservingness.

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