Access Health Care and Social Services. Essay Sample

Published: 2023-01-08
Access Health Care and Social Services. Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Immigration Government Healthcare Mental health Healthcare policy
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1217 words
11 min read

Health access in America continues to be a challenge particularly to the federal government and the states that host immigrants. There has been a raging debate on immigrant issues in America and how the government should handle the issue. There have been suggestions to build a border wall while some have urged the government to deport all the illegal immigrants. However, the issue of access to health care and other social services continues to be a challenge to the government. Different barriers contribute that prevent immigrants from accessing healthcare and social services. The complexity of application and eligibility rules, literacy, language, and cultural barriers and administrative burdens are some of the barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing health and social services.

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The complex nature of the application and establishing eligibility for access to social services is a barrier that continues to prevent immigrants from accessing these essential services. Majority of the immigrants in the U.S. are undocumented and are afraid of legalizing their stay in the country (Gelatt, 2014). Since social and health services in America are provided through specific programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, it becomes difficult for immigrants to be eligible to access these services (Hacker et al., 2015). While in most cases a majority of the immigrants prefers access to private health services, these services turn out to be unaffordable locking out many immigrants who choose to stay sick rater that visiting health services where their eligibility status will be questioned. Eligibility of citizenship status among the majority of immigrants is an issue that makes it harder to improve access to health and social services.

The other barrier that contributes to this issue is literacy, language and the culture of the immigrants. The literacy levels of most immigrants in America is low. Immigrants of Latin origin have been established to have low literacy levels (Castaneda & Melo, 2014). Literacy levels make people lack information that would allow them to understand the importance of access to quality health care. Besides, the level of literacy makes it harder for immigrants to understand how health systems in their states operate. Language barrier affects communication between immigrants and health workers. When immigrants cannot express their health issues at the health facilities, it becomes difficult for authorities to plan or act on the health issues affecting the immigrants (Castaneda & Melo, 2014). Culture is the other barrier that affects attitudes towards accessing healthcare. Some immigrants come from cultures that lack trust in modern medication. These cultures continue to undermine the efforts of health workers trying to bridge the gap of access to healthcare.

The challenge of navigating the complex administrative processes for immigrants contribute to the challenge of accessing healthcare. The immigration department has developed systems that are complex for immigrants seeking licenses to live in America. The lengthy procedures that are required to be followed make it harder for certain groups to access healthcare (Gelatt, 2014). Besides, most of these immigrants spend most of their time trying to ratify their immigration status to be able to live in America. The administration bottlenecks that exist in the various administrative departments makes it harder for these immigrants to access health and social services with ease. The pressure of living in fear further worsens the situation among immigrants.

Physical and Psychological Health of Immigrants

Several factors determine the health of the nation. The holistic health of a person is dependent on physical and psychological health. The barriers to access to healthcare impacts the physical and psychological health of immigrants. Physical health refers to body health where individuals have no problems that affect their quality of life. Immigrants suffer from different diseases when they lack access to healthcare, and it becomes difficult to have their medical conditions checked and appropriate health intervention and medication provided (Hacker et al., 2015). The physical health of the immigrants is affected as they are exposed to numerous diseases that arise from their harsh environment. When these barriers deny immigrants the opportunity to access healthcare, it means that their physical health is drastically affected. Immigrants that demand constant health attention might end up losing their lives since these barriers will not allow them to access quality healthcare while putting themselves in situations that they can be deported.

The major health concern among immigrants is their psychological health. Immigrants are subjected to psychological torture in the hands of American authorities. The tedious process and persistent threats of being deported affect the emotional wellbeing of the immigrants. The traumatizing experience at the hands of immigration officials will haunt immigrants throughout their lives. Immigrants are traumatized as a result of the long procedures and constant pestering by authorities to regularize their immigration status (Gelatt, 2014). Besides, the difficulty of accessing social and health services affects immigrants psychologically. There have been cases where immigrants develop psychological problems as a result of the difficulties they go through in legalizing their stay in America. The administrative nature of this process means that immigrants live with stress (Castaneda & Melo, 2014). When these immigrants legalize their status, they continue suffering from the traumatizing experiences they went through in seeking eligibility to live in America. The difficulties faced in the immigration process and denial of essential services has a major impact on the psychological health of immigrants.

Social Workers or Social Service Agencies

Social workers and social service agencies can address the barriers to access to health and social services among immigrants. The two groups have a responsibility of acting ethically to promote health irrespective of the underlying issue facing immigrants. On the issue of culture and language barriers, it is important for social workers to be culturally competent to be able to provide social services to diverse groups of immigrants (Heiman & Artiga, 2015). Cultural competency is required for all social workers to be able to work with different groups without any challenge. Culturally competent social workers understand the challenges of working with diverse groups and the right approaches that can be used to address these problems. Social workers have a solution to the language barrier. In most cases, social workers who have a better understanding of different languages should be deployed to work with immigrants of diverse backgrounds.

Social service agencies can further help to address these challenges by eliminating factors that can deny immigrants health services. When these agencies act ethically to providing health and social services in places occupied by immigrants, access to health and social services will be improved (Heiman & Artiga, 2015). Besides, these agencies can extend the provision of these services to centers where immigrant groups have been stationed. Social workers and social agencies have a greater role in addressing these barriers without conflicting with government policies. The two groups have a responsibility of bridging the gap in access to health and social services among groups that have difficulties that could take longer to address.


Castaneda, H., & Melo, M. A. (2014). Health care access for Latino mixed-status families: Barriers, strategies, and implications for reform. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(14), 1891-1909.

Gelatt, J. M. (2014). Immigrant access to health and human services.

Hacker, K., Anies, M., Folb, B. L., & Zallman, L. (2015). Barriers to health care for undocumented immigrants: a literature review. Risk management and healthcare policy, 8, 175.

Heiman, H. J., & Artiga, S. (2015). Beyond health care: the role of social determinants in promoting health and health equity. Health, 20(10), 1-10.

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