Minorities Have Limited Access to Health Care in America

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Seeking care in any type of health care facility is usually not the most favorite activity of any individual. It is likely viewed as a “necessary evil,” something that must be done but is not pleasantly anticipated. Making the encounter between health care professional and client both helpful and therapeutic is a challenge. The major problems with treating the uninsured clients are continuity of care, and collecting payments for services. For those living in poverty, this is especially true. In my research, the one constant that the client’s expressed about visiting a doctor was embarrassment, fear, anger, and anxiety. Embarrassment in not having health insurance, fear of the unknown procedures and diagnosis, anger at being in such a vulnerable position, and anxiety about the cost, payment obligations and the impact on the family’s budget. A helping interview is a conversation between a health care professional and a person in need and is a common tool of communication in any health care setting. Three components of the helping interview are 1) the orientation of the professional and the client to each other, 2) the identification of the client’s problem, and 3) the resolution of the client’s problem (Tamparo & Lindh). Control is a critical factor in the helping interview, and should not be abused. The helping interview clearly involve people in an unequal partnership. The clients should be empowered as much as possible by the experience in the helping interview, since empowered clients are likely to participate more fully in their care and return to health faster (Tamparo & Lindh). The financially challenged client already feels inadequate, useless, powerless, embarrassment, fear, and anger. So the interview may not illicit ... ... middle of paper ... ... to secure the basic needs of survival. Research shows that racial or ethnic minorities have—on average—poorer access to health insurance and health care than those who are white. Notwithstanding cultural diversity, race, ethnicity, or religion, understanding the roles of citizenship status and language is important for developing policies to help reduce disparities in health coverage and access. A person’s citizenship status (e.g., citizen, legal immigrant, or undocumented alien) affects eligibility for benefits like Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the ability to obtain a job that offers health insurance benefits. English proficiency affects a person’s ability to communicate in our English-dominant society, and more specifically, to discuss medical problems with a physician or nurse or to complete an insurance application.
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