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Analysis

Travel Ban Could Further Harm Underserved Patient Populations

By John Commins  
   February 08, 2017

More than one-in-five healthcare professionals in the United States is foreign-born. The trickle-down effect of a federal travel ban may discourage some providers from practicing their badly needed skills here.

In the 1930s, sociologist Robert K. Merton popularized an idea that's become known as the Law of Unintended Consequences, which has come to mean outcomes that are not intended or foreseen by a purposeful action.

A recent example of the law is the 90-day travel ban imposed on Jan. 27 by President Donald Trump. The ban extends to people in seven majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The controversial order has been blocked by a federal judge in Seattle, but the Trump administration is appealing that ruling and requesting an expedited hearing before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

President Trump has said the temporary ban is needed to ensure that vetting processes for people from those countries are adequate before visa are issued for entry into the United States. Critics say that adequate vetting is already in place and that the ban specifically discriminates against Muslims.

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John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.


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