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The lack of health insurance is a major reason behind immigrants' low usage of the United States health care services. For instance, there is a high concentration of immigrants in low-paying jobs and other jobs that do not offer health insurance. Personal characteristics that stem from structural obstacles include education; both immigrants and native-born citizens who have lower levels of education tend to be uninsured.

Additionally, citizenship status is significant in determining one's health care access, especially that of children. Health benefits are largely contingent on immigrant parents in that although a child may be born in the U.

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Finally, the financial costs of health coverage may also explain uninsurance. Studies have shown a connection between the lack of coverage and higher poverty rates. Access to and usage of health care depends in part on immigrants' level of acculturation. Linguistic difficulties can prevent immigrants from accessing health care in two major ways.


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Second, language skills impact one's available job opportunities. Without an adequate level of English proficiency, immigrants are constrained to certain jobs, often those that are less likely to provide job-based insurance. As mentioned, language can be a huge barrier to immigrants when it comes to accessing healthcare, especially because of complex medical terminology.

A study already mentioned in the last paragraph of the Findings and statistics: Asian Section done among Chinese immigrants have shown significant positive association between language barriers and poor self-rated health. Also, it suggests ways in which we, as a community, can collectively improve and get rid of these language barriers so that more immigrants can get proper access to healthcare.

There is also a climate of fear and distrust that prevents immigrants, especially those without documentation, from actively seeking out health services. Fear arises largely from the idea of risking deportation or becoming ineligible for citizenship. Finally, some research indicates that barriers may exist according to a group's cultural beliefs.

For example, Southeast Asians tend to be less forthcoming in seeking health care because their cultural norms describe pain and sickness as an inevitable part of life. Additionally, their value of stoicism and differences in etiology e. Immigrant groups' cultural beliefs are different, thus sometimes they have hard time assimilating themselves into a new culture. A study already mentioned in the second to last paragraph of the Findings and statistics: Asian Section has shown that the length of stay had the strongest association with Asian immigrants getting their dental check-ups.

Although this study was only confined to dental visits, the results are still significant because not only it showed that acculturation plays a crucial role in immigrants' healthcare access, but also showed potential ways in which how communities and health professionals can approach and eradicate these social barriers. For instance, creating a program among immigrants to learn about US healthcare system in their native languages can make immigrants familiar with complex US healthcare system.

Also, immigrants can build social support network through these programs, which can be a great help when it comes to facing health issues. Disparities in health care coverage between immigrants and native-born residents have risen in part from policy changes such as PRWORA in determining eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits. The case for addressing problems in immigrant health care includes a large body of both moral and economic reasoning.

Proponents of immigrant health care reform contend that children of immigrant families are like native-born children in their need for security in health and nutrition. Given their role in the nation's future—e. This ultimately results in delays in major diagnoses until the later stages of an affliction, thereby increasing a community's level of disease. A fact report published by the Immigration Policy Center in also suggests that increased immigrant participation in the United States' health care system yields monetary benefits.


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A change in eligibility requirements to include immigrants and noncitizens in the health care system would spread the costs of sustaining public benefits; more tax dollars would be available to alleviate the financial strain of Social Security and Medicare. Conversely, others argue that immigrants to the United States intend to take advantage of public benefits and therefore favor legislation that implements more restrictions.

As such, minor health issues such as migraines—as opposed to emergencies like gunshot wounds and cardiac arrest—are included and hurt hospitals due to the lack of additional government compensation. Efforts at reforming the health care system in regards to immigrants have varied in terms of success in the past decade. In , the federal government proposed funding hospitals over a four-year period to cover emergency treatment for uninsured and undocumented immigrants, but required asking for patients' citizenship statuses.

Immigration: Challenges for New Americans

In and , proposed Senate and House of Representatives bills sought to decrease illegal immigration but additionally made it a felony for health care providers to service undocumented immigrants. Finally, policies making insurance more affordable for workers could potentially reduce coverage disparities, given that a large proportion of immigrants are less likely to be covered than native-born citizens.

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In addition to proposed reform bills, alternative routes to improving health coverage rates have been sought, namely via the means of direct immigrant outreach initiatives. Studies indicate the overall effectiveness of state-funded coverage programs in reducing the immigrant-citizen health care disparities, but other efforts have been suggested for further results.

Public health scholars have acknowledged that certain marginalized groups, including immigrants, experience a lower quality of healthcare. This legislation, joined with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of , seeks to expand coverage and improve access to the health care system while simultaneously managing its costs. PPACA's creation of subsidies to make insurance more affordable notably benefits legal immigrants, given that they comprise a large number of the uninsured population.

In contrast, undocumented immigrants are denied these subsidies and further prohibited from participating in federal or state health insurance exchanges, though their lawfully present children will be eligible.

Immigrant Medicine Senior Elective

Views on the act's contributions to the immigrant and noncitizen population vary. Some argue that the reform has immense benefits by addressing coverage gaps and extending more benefits to naturalized citizens. Others argue that substantial disparities still exist, with an estimated 3. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. American Journal of Public Health. Population Reference Bureau. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Health Care System". American Medical Student Association. The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy. The New England Journal of Medicine. Escarce; Nicole Lurie September—October Health Affairs. Immigrants' Rights Update. Immigration Policy Center.

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Immigrants' Access. Immigrant Families". Immigration Daily. Retrieved 17 March Social Science Quarterly. Families USA. Barnett Lymphatic Filariasis. Stauffer Boulware Section 6: Chronic Illness in Immigrants Preventive Healthcare in Children.


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Walker Dental Diseases and Disorders. Anemia and Red Blood Cell Disorders. Epidemiology and Risk Factors. Eisenman Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illness. Survivors of Torture: A Hidden Population. Interpersonal Violence Towards Women. Children and Adolescents. School Readiness and Bilingual Education. Augustyn Vocational Considerations. Health Literacy. Larsen Healthcare for Migrant Workers. Visiting Friends and Relatives.

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