Friday, October 9, 2009

Three "Americans" win the Nobel Prize

Earlier today President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The award was a surprise; few pundits had tapped Obama for the honor.

Of lesser apparent newsworthiness, earlier in the week, three
Americans shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Although none of the three are nurses or allied workers , two of the three Americans were immigrants to this country. Since this Blog focuses on the intersection of healthcare and visa policy, this is the story that I will highlight.

One of the winners, Dr. Blackburn, came to the United States in the 1970s because it was “notably attractive” as a place to do science. America is still a magnet for foreign scientists, she said, “but one shouldn’t take that for granted.”

There is a parallel to America’s current policy with respect to healthcare professionals, which presently is broken. While few immigrants, or Americans for that matter, make the kinds of these contributions that these two have made, thousands of foreign trained healthcare workers have made the kinds of day-to-day contributions that enormously enhance America. By enacting sensible healthcare visa reform, the US can insure that America remains a magnet for the best and brightest.

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