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California Immigrant Families: Issues for California's Future

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Publication Date: August 2000

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Author(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research; California Policy Research Center

Funder(s): California Program on Access to Care

Funder(s): California Program on Access to Care

Topic: Health (Health services for non-citizens)

Keywords: Medicaid; health care; immigration

Type: Brief

Coverage: California

Abstract:

This study reviewed demographics and characteristics of first- and second-generation immigrant children, including their development, risk factors, and access to and utilization of health and social services. A key conclusion was that first-generation immigrant children are as healthy as, and in many ways healthier than, children in U.S.-born families, but health status declines as they assimilate into American life. Children in immigrant families are three times as likely to be uninsured as children in U.S.-born families. Even when they are insured, they face language and cultural barriers that may prevent them from receiving quality health care. As many of the presenters and other conference participants pointed out, welfare reforms barred new immigrant children from the Medicaid program, a crucial safety net, and excluded them from participation in CHIP, which provides free or low-cost insurance for uninsured children in families whose incomes are above the eligibility levels for Medicaid.