Immigrant health care is a hot topic in politics. Currently there are many problems with immigrants getting access to health care as they are less likely to carry health insurance. In addition, they have language barriers and financial issues that may prevent them from seeking health care. Because of this, the American College of Physicians (ACP) has developed a policy that addresses these problems.
The Problem with a Lack of Immigrant Health Care
The illegal and the legal immigrant population continue to grow. Many of these people come the United States hoping for more money and a better life for their families. However, the current immigrant health care system is unable to meet their needs. The fear that they will be reported to the authorities makes them fearful of going to the doctor when necessary. This results in serious medical issues arising before any action is taken. Once this happens, the expense can be astronomical and it often falls to taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Why the ACP Published a Position Paper
The ACP put together a position paper to highlight the problem of immigrant health care. It is a high-level overview of the issues facing immigrants nationwide and what solutions need to be developed to put policies in place to create appropriate, low-cost care. In addition, it addresses how to get access to this care to a people who are unclear on how health insurance works and what opportunities it affords.
Why Immigrant Health Care is Necessary
In addition to the high costs related to illnesses not being treated early enough, there is also the problem of communicable diseases. There are many diseases that are becoming virulent and drug resistant. These illnesses can be transmitted to the public if they are not taken care of quickly. Preemptive medical care like vaccinations, prenatal care, health check-ups and chronic health maintenance also prevent disease and keep health problems from spiraling into more serious medical conditions.
What the ACP Policy Paper Recommends
The premise of the ACP policy paper is a nationwide immigrant health care system. At a state level, there are too many gaps in coverage. The paper also addresses the fact that the cost for this health care should not fall on the tax payers and that immigrants who have the financial means should be responsible for out-of-pocket coverage. This coverage should apply to all immigrants regardless of the legal status because of the inherent public risks and expense of not being properly treated in a timely manner.
Having proper immigrant medical care in the United States should be a priority issue. This protects not only the immigrants it serves, but the public at large. An epidemic outbreak of an infectious disease could have devastating consequences in our high density population. By having a plan in place to offer and encourages preventative health care, early disease recognition and coordinated health care to everyone who needs it, it will keep higher cost, poorer outcome emergency medical issues to a minimum.