217154 Access to Health Care for Latino Mixed Immigration Status Families

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kara Ryan, MPP , Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Washington, DC
Patricia Foxen, PhD , Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Washington, DC
Mixed immigration status families will make up the backbone of America's future generations—experts predict that immigrants and their U.S.-born descendents will compose 82% of the growth in the U.S. population between 2005 and 2050. The health and well-being of these families should be of critical concern. However, there has been limited research on the experiences of mixed-status families within the health care system. To assess the potential implications of the health care system structure for Latino mixed-status families, NCLR conducted a series of focus groups in October 2009. Participants were Latino parents of U.S. citizen children under age 18; more than half were noncitizens, including both legal and undocumented immigrants, and the remainder were citizens. The following five themes emerged from this research: 1) Overall, state public coverage programs are critical to health care access for citizen children in mixed-status families. 2) However, parents in these families have dramatically lower access to health coverage and care and report poorer health. 3) Families' experiences navigating the public coverage system were inconsistent from state to state. 4) Affordability is a significant problem, even when children are insured. 5) Parents recognize the comprehensive nature of their children's health insurance, but perceived some differential treatment based on ethnic identity as well as their status as public coverage recipients. At this point, the outcome of the federal health care reform debate is uncertain. Under any scenario, however, these findings provide insight into the issues that must be addressed in order to close gaps in Latinos' health care access and quality.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the barriers to the U.S. health care system experienced by Hispanic mixed immigration status families. Discuss concrete steps that practioners, policymakers, and researchers can take to improve mixed immigration status families' health care access and quality.

Keywords: Health Care Access, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: on behalf of NCLR, the largest Hispanic national civil rights and advocacy organization in the country, I conduct health policy research and advocacy focused on improving health care access and quality for U.S. Latinos.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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