Health care reforms and immigrants
- Several US states with large numbers of undocumented immigrants have undertaken health reforms to address the health needs of this population. The medical community is clear that metropolitan authorities have an ethical reason to address the health needs of immigrants because immigration has consequences in the practice of medicine as well as the delivery of health services (Montoya-Williams et al., 2020). The health reforms are motivated by the idea that the lack of insurance or health programs for immigrants has implications for health-seeking behavior and adverse physiological consequences.
Designing institutional-based policies and programs targeting undocumented people is a social aspect. The programs are identified by local stakeholders who implement welcoming policies and strategies in areas where undocumented immigrants reside (Montoya-Williams et al., 2020). The programs also employ community-based participatory research. For example, immigrants disclose information about themselves because of assurance it will only be used for health reasons. Change agents also disseminate information about participating health facilities to ensure undocumented immigrants engage or develop health-seeking behavior.
Most immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and other Central American countries should get health insurance or access health in the US because they provide labor. Further, immigrants with temporary visas should also access health because they provide specialized skills and labor to the US. Providing health care is also part of economic inclusion, where the aim is to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. For example, ACA or Obama Care extended insurance coverage to legal immigrants. Employers were required to provide health covers to discretionary immigrants as long as they were providing labor to their companies (Joseph & Marrow, 2017). The program extended health insurance to millions of immigrants and helped promote economic equity by reducing disproportionate or excess spending of personal income on health.
As a result, in order to build better policies, immigration policy reforms must be evaluated seriously. In some cases, though, immigration has shifted native perceptions toward a more positive and open-minded view of diversity. Natives may lose certain aspects of their traditions, but they also have the opportunity to learn about other cultures from immigrants from all over the world and that, far from being a difficulty, becomes a reason for enrichment and openness to plurality.
Joseph, T. D., & Marrow, H. B. (2017). Health care, immigrants, and minorities: lessons from the affordable care act in the US. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(12), 1965-1984. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1323446
Montoya-Williams, D., Fuentes-Afflick, E., & Wallis, K. (2020). The case for research-informed immigrant health policies within health care systems. JAMA network open, 3(4), e203022-e203022. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.3022