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Physicians call for better access to health care for immigrants
Date:4/7/2011

SAN DIEGO, April 7, 2011 -- As the U.S. immigrant population grows it will be necessary to address the vast number of immigrants who do not have access to health insurance coverage, or who face other barriers to accessing health care, the American College of Physicians (ACP) said in a new policy paper released today at Internal Medicine 2011, ACP's annual scientific meeting. National Immigration Policy and Access to Health Care discusses the challenges immigrants face in obtaining health care services.

"Currently immigrants, both documented and undocumented, face many barriers to adequately accessing badly needed health care," said J. Fred Ralston, Jr., MD, FACP, president of ACP. "They are more likely to lack health insurance than U.S. citizens; they may lack the funds necessary to pay for health care services without insurance; and, they may face the additional barrier of being fearful that seeking medical attention may lead them to be reported to authorities."

In order to address these concerns, ACP is calling for the development of an immigration policy on health care that includes:

  • A national policy. Individual state laws result in a patchwork system that is not adequate to address this complex problem.
  • Taxpayers should not be required to subsidize health insurance coverage for persons who are not legal residents of the United States and people should not be prevented from paying out-of-pocket for health insurance based on immigration status.
  • The same access to health coverage and government-subsidized health care for U.S.-born children of parents who lack legal residency as any other U.S. citizen.
  • Acknowledgement of the public health risks associated with undocumented persons not receiving medical care because of concerns about criminal or civil prosecution or deportation. Immigration policy should include increased access to comprehensive primary and preventive care, and vaccinations and screening for pr
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Contact: Steve Majewski
smajewski@acponline.org
619-525-6229
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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