Description of the Issue
“On the whole, people with higher levels of education and wealth tend to enjoy better health and longer lives, partly because they can afford the costs of insurance and regular medical evaluations but also because they confront fewer stresses associated with the struggle for survival” (Fernandez-Kelly & Portes, 2013, p. 1).
There is very little ground for the accusations that immigrants use health care services that are not eligible for them. On the other hand, the U.S. expenditure on immigrant health care is much lower than on native-born population. However, despite the poor situation in health care, immigrants are still drawn to the states due to jobs availability. The factors that influence the restricted access to health care include: enabling factor, doctor access, medication access (Acton, 2013, p. 81).
Moreover, despite the fact that the immigration opponents argued that restricting the access to health care would stop immigration, this action will only put the population at great risk (Immigrants and the U.S. Health Care System, n.d., p. 2).
Addressing the Issue
Language barriers as well as cultural differences play a major role in immigrants’ limited access to health care. Moreover, various cultures have various perceptions of the appropriateness of medical care. In addition, legal status is a concern that has value on the federal level (Ku & Jewers, 2013, p. 11).
There are more than 11 million of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Their ineligibility for the health care is connected with the fact that the immigrant population is not lawfully present (Berlinger & Gusmano, 2013, p. 1). As immigrants live and work in the USA, their health outcomes deteriorate and begin to resemble those of the native-born population (Loue & Sajatovic, 2012, p. 186). Lastly, immigration and health care reform remains a challenge for the society to this day.
Challenges for the Nursing Practice
The challenges for the nursing practice include the inability to provide adequate care due to the language and cultural barriers. The legal status of a person may affect their ineligibility for medical help, which cannot be argued by the nursing practitioner.
Options for Positive Changes
When it comes to the positive changes in the health care legislation for the immigrant populations, expansion of Medicaid to improve the insurance coverage regardless of race or the US residency can be a first step. Outreach and education of the immigrant population regarding health care as well as employing the certified immigrant individuals for minimizing cultural barriers is another step. Lastly, a smart solution is the adoption of health insurance option for immigrant children since the majority of them are native-born (Ku & Jewers, 2013, p. 14).
Risks and Benefits
Changes in the policy regarding immigrants’ access to health care have some risks as well as benefits. On the one hand, providing health care for immigrants may encourage more illegal immigration in the country (Whitman, 2015, para. 5). Moreover, taxpayers will be forced to pay more to cover the medical insurance of the immigrant population. On the other hand, the changes in legislation may push the government to find various ways for providing coverage to immigrants that are not covered by Obamacare. In addition, providing access to health care for immigrants may minimize the cases of buying private care insurance.
The solutions for the changes in the legislation include investing into the medical education of the bilingual people as well as providing adequate care supply to ensure a broader coverage of the immigrant populations. Health care benefits can be extended as long as they are covered by the state, not the federal government (Nevarez, 2014, para. 18). Lastly, the federal government should recognize the importance of health care for all U.S. populations and improve the services for the immigrant population.
For the Future Consideration
To conclude, the federal health care laws and policies should not be driven by the immigration status. Moreover, the jobs immigrants get in the country should provide at least a job-related health coverage. Because the majority of immigrant children are native-born, they should be provided with appropriate health services (Ku and Jewers, 2013, p. 16). Lastly, proper education and spreading awareness are important aspects of the positive health care changes.
Acton, A. (2013). Issues in Ethnicity and Health Research. Atlants, GA: Scholarly Editions.
Berlinger, N., & Gusmano, M. (2013). Undocumented Patients: Undocumented Immigrants & Access to Health Care. Web.
Fernandez-Kelly, P., & Portes, A. (2013). Health Care and Immigration: Understanding the Connections. New York, NY: Routeledge.
Immigrants and the U.S. Health Care System. (n.d.). Web.
Ku, L., & Jewers, M. (2013). Health Care for Immigrant Families: Current Policies and Issues. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.
Loue, S. & Sajatovic, M. (2012). Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health. New York, NY: Springer.
Nevarez, G. (2014). Undocumented Immigrants Face Limited Health Care Options. Web.