Vulnerable Populations And The United States Health Care System

1455 words - 6 pages

Vulnerable Populations Part 1

Vulnerable Populations Part 1
Vulnerable populations are groups not well integrated into the health care system for various reasons. Some of these reasons can include cultural, economic, geographic, and ethics sources of vulnerability. In the United States vulnerable populations can even consist of underinsured or uninsured Americans considered middle class. For many the impact that the economy has had on health care has been the primary factor for the placement of several groups into a vulnerable population. The reduced access to health care has put millions at risk of not obtaining necessary medical care and is a direct threat to his ...view middle of the document...

The challenges that immigrants face when entering the United States are to understand the complex society where systems of health care coverage and access to services may be very different from their native country. The challenges that this population faces is understanding a new way of life that includes a new language, new rules, and a completely different political system that will determine what is available to them. That is of course; if the immigrant is a document with the legal right to entire the United States to begin with. The challenges faced by illegal immigrants are much greater because of the fear of deportation back to the country they came from. For some, that possibility is frightening enough to not seek medical care in the first place. The same fear extends to the U.S. born children of this group. For this group it is even more difficult than ever because more restrictions have been placed on the ability to adjust their status following illegal immigration. The correct information is that individual who seeks health care, food stamps, or Medicaid, will not jeopardize their applications for naturalization and other benefits offered by the United States.
According to Derose, Escarce, and Lurie (2007), “Educational attainment, type of occupation, and earnings directly and indirectly influence immigrant’s access to health care resources. Overall, immigrants are less likely that U.S born populations to have graduated from high school and are more likely to work in service occupations and live in poverty” (p. 1259). However, there are variations in what ethnic groups would be more likely to live in poverty, for example, Asian and African immigrants are significantly more likely to graduate high school than immigrants from Mexico and Central America. The groups that finished high school would probably have more access to health care than the groups that did not because of the ability to obtain employment that offers health insurance. Immigrants have consistently lower health insurance coverage that United States born populations. According to Derose, Escarce, and Lurie (2007) Nearly half (45 percent) of noncitizen immigrants living in the United States lack health care insurance, whereas noncoverage for naturalized citizens generally approximates that of the U.S. born (15-20 percent) while 65 percent of undocumented immigrants lack health insurances compared with the 32 percent of permanent residents” ( p. 1260).
The language barrier is a major factor that causes the vulnerability in immigrants even when health insurance has been acquired. The limited English proficiency of immigrants affects the quality of care they receive because they do not fully, or at all, understand the medical situation he or she is faced with. This group is also likely to have an increased risk of an adverse medication reaction directly linked to the communication barrier. The high rate in the lack of education in this group makes it difficult even...

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