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RAND researchers offer options to improve immigrant health care quality, access
Date:9/11/2007

ian immigrants living below the federal poverty level, for example, is 11 percent, similar to that of U.S. citizens, but is 22 percent for Latin American immigrants.

In reviewing these and other research conclusions, the article suggests several policy options for improving access to and quality of health care for immigrants, including:

  • Expand access to health insurance by reauthorizing and expanding programs like the State Childrens Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, and extend the eligibility to the parents of children eligible for Medicaid (a federal health care program for low-income people) and SCHIP.

  • Address limited-English proficiency by enforcing laws designed to ensure hospitals and clinics located in areas with a large number of immigrants have staff who can speak the predominant languages in that area.

  • Expand and strengthen the medical safety net. Because many immigrants are flocking to areas that have not traditionally had large immigrant populations, policies that support the expansion of safety net programs such as community health centers would make it easier for immigrants to receive health care.

  • Revise laws that restrict immigrants access to government-sponsored or government-subsidized health insurance programs because they put immigrants at risk for poor health care.

Over the last decade, the United States has seen its immigrant population grow and branch out away from traditional immigration centers. Twenty-two states with relatively low percentages of immigrants saw their populations grow by more than 90 percent between 1990 and 2000. Currently, approximately a third of immigrants are naturalized citizens, a third are legal permanent residents and a third are undocumented.


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Contact: Lisa Sodders
media@rand.org
310-393-0411
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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