Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants – Health System Example

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"Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants" is a perfect example of a paper on the health system. Health care concerns itself with the treatment of any illness or impairments that humans have by medical practitioners, such as medical doctors, dentists, nurses, and so forth.   Health care comes with a very high cost, which has not only individuals but also the economy. Health care consumers face burdensome out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare access, which adds another burden to illness. The high health care costs have continued to claim a larger share of the economy, now consisting of the gross domestic product, and still rising at a rate at least twice that of general inflation (Gordon & Hohenadel, 1992). Substantial disparities in health status exist across different income groups, ethnic groups, and social classes.

In spite of the notion that there should be equal opportunity for health maintenance, the issues of inequalities in health status are a key current challenge facing the health sector. In principle though, the existing health care system can only address inequalities to a certain degree. A big portion of this inequality is driven by social factors such as ineffective education systems and poverty.                         The social environment is an imperative factor influencing health, health choice, and health care delivery.

The social components like norms, beliefs, values, and economic affect an individual’ s health. At times, they also become major inequalities for health choice and health care delivery. Therefore socio-economic, educational, and environmental conditions are important thoughts in planning and implementing programs that are receptive to the needs of specific communities and groups. Communities’ actions have been shown to involve both individual empowerments to influence and control the determinants of health and quality of life (Steinberg, 2006).

Various social factors have been shown to have a direct influence on mortality and morbidity in recent years.   Similarly, the quality and delivery of care is also influenced. Many studies have linked the major non-communicable and infectious diseases to the poverty of material conditions. In addition, there is evidence that a range of adult and childhood disorders and evidence on the state of mental health is generally in high, middle, and lower income countries (Yearwood, 2010). Over time, the delivery of health care in the United States has become a culture of its own.

For the undocumented immigrants to the U. S, who have a very diverse culture, the healthcare system can be a bit confusing and frightening. Undocumented immigrants are individuals who are born outside the United States and do not have the legal documents to verify their status in society. They are more likely to have entered the country without any certification and stay on even after the expiry of their visas, which means they have to return back to their countries.

In 2006, there were approximately 37 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. They come from Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil, Ecuador, and a host of other countries. They form about 13 percent of the US population. Some immigrants come legally and even though many of them are undocumented, there can be no estimation of how many they are. The number of undocumented immigrants, according to Parker (2010) has decreased over the years. They usually lack health benefits such as public health insurance. The reason many people immigrate to the US is because of the numerous job opportunities that exist there.

They are willing to accept lower wages and take service jobs that don’ t pay health insurance, and they also face barriers, for instance receiving any health benefits (Steinberg, 2006). In 1996, most legal immigrants were not eligible for Medicaid till they completed a five-year residence in the US. After five years, they could then enjoy the services provided by Medicaid. However, for undocumented immigrants, this offer doesn’ t stand, no matter how many years they have stayed in the US (Chavez, 1992). Therefore about 60% of immigrants will not have any options for receiving health benefits.

They rely on small health facilities and emergency rooms, which seem to be strained in terms of capacity and resources, compared to the large numbers of these immigrants. They are becoming unable to provide health care and therefore these citizens receive less primary care than the citizens. However, they add a great deal to the countries overall costs. (Fernandez, Robinson, & Division. , 1994) Objective In some states in the US, undocumented immigrants are not part of the health policy systems.

This is a rising issue because many of the documented immigrants also don’ t have coverage of health insurance and face a great deal of difficulty in getting health care solutions such as antenatal services. It is debatable how the rising number of immigrants without healthcare will affect the economy. Many immigrant advocates feel that health care services should be included in the national health policy because any individual state will not be able to handle or impact the enormity of handling undocumented workers who have health problems (McClellan, 1981). Research Immigrants face burdensome out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare access, which adds another burden to illness.

Access to health care should be a public good, available to all regardless of their status in society and also health care insurance should be covered by the state and not something that individuals have to pay for out of their pocket. Eligible US citizens have access to subsidized health care (e. g. Medicaid, Medicare, and SCHIP). These programs should also be available to undocumented immigrants because they have the same needs (Bacon, 2008).   Undocumented immigrants, depending on their country of origin, are prone to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, that are detrimental to the entire society, and therefore they should get vaccinations and diagnosis on a regular basis to protect the nation as a whole.

This can be included in the national immigration policy (Steinberg, 2011). Recommendations Community healthcare centers and hospitals could be set up to provide health care to all, irrespective of the legal status of the patients. I would especially recommend that this be done for women and children who are the vulnerable population.

The legislators could amend the relevant acts at the federal level to make nationwide, and not just the states. Some issues affecting health care among undocumented immigrants are correlated to an individual's circumstances. These include finances, the capability of the doctor and patient to communicate, where medical resources are situated in relation to the individual's location and gender, race, and ethnicity. Other manipulating factors are related to personal beliefs about medical care and medical care practitioners. If these are ironed out then undocumented immigrants would be willing to attend health facilities.


Bacon, D. (2008). Illegal people : how globalization creates migration and criminalizes immigrants. Beacon Press.

Chavez, L. R. (1992). Shadowed lives : undocumented immigrants in American society. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.

Fernandez, E. W., Robinson, J. G., & Division., U. S. (1994). Illustrative ranges of the distribution of undocumented immigrants by state. Bureau of the Census.

Gordon, S., & Hohenadel, K. (1992). Health care. Peterson's.

Hunnicutt, S. (2010). Universal health care. Greenhaven Press.

McClellan, G. S. (1981). Immigrants, refugees, and U.S. policy. H.W. Wilson.

The organization, W. H. (1995). World Health Organization. The Organization.

Yearwood., W. H. (2010.). Human resources for health. Atlanta, GA: Quick Publishers.

Passel, J. S., & Census., U. S. (1985). Undocumented immigrants: how many? Bureau of the Census.

Steinberg, A. C. (2006). National Immigration Policy And Access To Health Care. New York: Maxwell Publishers.

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