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Immigrants and Health Care: Mounting Problems

Caswell A. Evans Jr., DDS, MPH
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Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, CA 90012 Requests for Reprints: Caswell A. Evans Jr., DDS, MPH, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, 313 North Figueroa Street, Room 909, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1995;122(4):309-310. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-122-4-199502150-00012
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Immigrants have made the United States what it is today, a mix of ethnically diverse people struggling to make a new life in a new land. In recent decades, immigration from Latin America and Asia has overtaken the European immigration of earlier generations. Soon, most children in the United States will be of Latin American or Asian descent. As our nation becomes more ethnically diverse, much of our national attention has focused on immigration, particularly regarding the debate about universal health care. The recent passage of Proposition 187 in California, which eliminated all public services except emergency health care for undocumented immigrants, is a good example of this. Concerns about the added burden of care and the draining of already-depleted resources stem from a general assumption that immigrants negatively affect the health and welfare of our society. Before we can accept this assumption, we must closely examine current health and demographic trends among the largest and most recently arrived groups of immigrants, namely, those from Latin America and Asia.



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