The problem of immigrants in California

Research Questions. The research will address the above hypothesis and attempt to seek answers to the following questions:- (a)   What is the population of illegal immigrants in California and what is their ethnic as well as county wise distribution? (b)  What are the health and hospital services available in California? Details of number of hospitals, dispensaries, health centers, budgeting and expenditure need to be discussed. (c) What is the quantum of health and hospital resources which have been utilized by illegal immigrants in California in the past five years?

(2001 – 2005)? (d)  What has been the impact of this on availability of such resources to the native population? (e)  What; if any; has been the social and health care impact of the diversion of resources to illegal immigrants in California? (f)  What measures can alleviate the problem for natives, health services as well as illegal immigrants? Objectives Analysis of the impact of illegal immigrants on the health and hospital services in California will be the key object of the study.

Within this principal aim the objectives will be as follows:- (a)  Assess the numbers and spread of illegal migration in California. (b)  Assess the health and hospital services which are being utilized by the illegal migrants vis a vis the natives. (c) Assess impact of utilization of health care by illegal migrants on overall availability of these facilities to the natives and general public in California. (d) Assess the social and economic impact of utilization of health care by illegal migrants.

The study envisages the problem of impact of heavy influx of illegal immigrants in California as it affects the health care system of the state. Thus there is a need to examine the literature on a number of issues, such as components of the health care system, review the State’s health care system in particular, illegal immigration and finally impact on the state’s health care system. A preliminary survey has revealed the adequacy of literature for the research in general as well as the scope for the present study which will fill a significant gap.

The report of the United States Congress Senate Finance Sub Committee on Health on containment of health costs based on hearings before the Subcommittee on Health provides a very detailed review of the US health delivery system, including public policy reforms and recommendations. It is an extremely useful introduction to health care system in the United States. The public policy of providing health to all citizens of the country, regardless of their capability to pay, being legal or illegal citizens, an insurance or non insurance holder is highlighted in the report.

(Health Cost Containment: 1997). This provides an ideal backdrop to the study. For a greater understanding of the health services of the United states including the health care access, finance, insurance and home health, there is a need to refer to non government material. There is also a need to understand the health care services in relation to the advances in biomedical research, introduction and information technology and immigration. (Williams. Torrens. 2001). The availability of literature on California’s public health care system is extensive.

However most of it is restricted to the internet, though its authenticity is verifiable by reference to a number of other sources. California has 24 public hospitals which form the core of the state’s medical safety net, while they constitute a mere 6 percent of all hospitals, they provide medical cover to maximum people, regardless of the ability to pay, immigration status and/or insurance. The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH)   is a repository of information on health services in the state.

It has all the 24 public hospitals which carry out 60 percent of the care of sick and needy in the state and covers 65 percent of the state population. It also serves a majority of the non white population at 78 percent and 74 percent of state’s inpatient care to medically indigent. Thus the details available with the organization are fairly accurate and authentic and can form the base for the study. (www. caph. org). The problem of immigrants in California needs to be studied in a holistic manner.

It has essentially emerged due to the need for large unskilled labor for California’s businesses as they were willing to earn lower wages than natives in all categories as opposed to the general trend in the United States where immigrant wages are equal to or exceed to native labor. (McCarthy. Vernez: 1998). This has posed a critical problem for the state as the business was benefiting from cheap labor, but the state had to bear the burden of health and other services to immigrants who have a greater need for these than the natives. This unusual situation needs to be deliberately analyzed. (McCarthy. Vernez: 1998).