Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 765–768 | Cite as

International Examples of Undocumented Immigration and the Affordable Care Act

  • Matthew Stutz
  • Arshiya Baig
Brief Communication


As it stands there is no viable health care option for undocumented immigrants of low socioeconomic status. Even more worrisome is that Affordable Care Act simply does not address this issue with any direct plan. The US is in a very influential time period in terms of undocumented immigration and its relationship with health care. The purpose of this paper is to examine international examples of undocumented immigrant health care and their implications for the United States’ undocumented immigrant health care. This study found that physicians in the US must work to prevent the initiation of policies which exclude undocumented immigrants from accessing health care. Exclusionary policies implemented in European nations have had disastrous effects on physicians and patients. This paper examines the implications which similar policies would have if implemented in the US.


Undocumented Germany Affordable Care Act United States Immigration 



We would like to thank Dr. Robert Brook and Dr. Vineet Arora for their feedback on an earlier draft. Matthew Stutz is supported by the University of Chicago Summer Research Program and the NIDDK Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant (5T35DK062719-24). Dr. Baig is supported by a NIDDK Mentored Patient-Oriented Career Development Award (K23 DK087903-01A1).


  1. 1.
    Passel J, Cohn D. Unauthorized immigrant population: national and state trends. Washington DC: Pew Hispanic Center; 2010.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mendoza M. Huge border costs yielding mixed results. Seattle Times 2011 05/26/2011.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Passel J, Cohn D. A portrait of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Washington: Pew Hispanic Center; 2009.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Goel MS, McMarthy EP, Phillips RS, Wee CC. Obesity among US immigrant subgroups by duration of residence. JAMA. 2004;292(23):2860–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Center for disease control office of minority health and health disparities. hispanic and latino population fact sheet, 2009.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zuckerman S, Waldmann TA, Lawton E. Undocumented immigrants, left out of health reform, likely to continue to grow as share of the uninsured. Health Aff. 2011;30(10):1997–2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dubard M. Trends in emergency medicaid expenditures for recent and undocumented immigrant. JAMA. 2007;297:10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    King M. Immigrants in the US health care system, five myths that misinform the American Public, Washington, DC; 2007.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mohanty SA, Woolhandler S, Himmelstein DU, Pati S, Carrasquillo O, Bor DH. Health care expenditures of immigrants in the United States: a nationally representative analysis. Am J Public Health. 2005;95(8):1431.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Passel JS, D’Vera Cohn SW, Center PH. Unauthorized immigrant population: national and state trends. Washington: Pew Hispanic Center; 2011.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    National Council of La Raza and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. The role of employer-sponsored health coverage for immigrants: A Primer, 2006.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Goldman DP, Smith JP, Sood N. Immigrants and the cost of medical care. Health Aff. 2006;25(6):1700–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cunningham PJ. What accounts for differences in the use of hospital emergency departments across US communities? Health Aff. 2006;25(5):324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    The United Kingdom National Health Service. Charges to overseas visitors (Amendment) Regulations, 2004 and 2006.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hargreaves S, Friedland J, Gothard P, Saxena S, Millington H, Eliahoo J, et al. Impact on and use of health services by international migrants: questionnaire survey of inner city London A&E attenders. BMC Health Serv Res. 2006;6(1):153–60.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Schlöpker K, Herrmann M, Grosser-Kaya C, Robra D, Dippelhofer-Stiem B, Schütze F, et al. Unresolved problems of undocumented migrants in Germany: an analysis of medical consultation in berlin, Cologne and Bonn. Gesundheitswesen. 2009;12(71):839–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hall MA. The mission of safety net organizations following national insurance reform. J Gen Intern Med. 2011;26(7):802–5.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Chicago Pritzker School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations