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Mexican, Latin American Immigrants Lacking In Health Insurance Coverage

Armen Hareyan's picture

While Latin American and Mexican immigrants account for a large portionof the U.S. work force and often work in dangerous occupations, theyalso typically are not offered health insurance by their employers,according to a report released Monday to coincide with the Binational Health Week and the Binational Policy Forum on Migration and Health, the Contra Costa Times reports. The report was conducted by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health, the University of California-Los Angeles School of Public Health and the Health Initiative of the Americas, a program of the UC Office of the President.

According to the Times,Mexican immigrants make up about one-third of the U.S. population andare likely to be employed at low-wage jobs and have little or no healthinsurance. Most of the jobs are in potentially dangerous fields, suchas farming and construction, and Mexican immigrants account for 44% ofimmigrant workers who die as a result of an on-the-job injury,according to the report.

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The report found that Latin Americanimmigrants are in better overall health than most non-Hispanic whites,but their health worsens the longer they reside in the U.S. Researcherslinked the declining health among Latin American immigrants to pooraccess to health care services and a lack of funds to pay for treatmentand prevention.

Xochitl Castaneda, director of the HealthInitiative of the Americas, said, "What this report is showing,unfortunately, is that immigrants and those who come from Mexico andLatin American countries are absorbing the most difficult jobs and arefacing the highest job-related deaths."

Steven Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research,said, "Despite taking the large number of dangerous jobs in thecountry, (immigrants) are not offered the basic necessities such ashealth insurance, where they are literally putting their life on theline" (Terry-Cobo, Contra Costa Times, 10/23).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.