Midwest Diagnosis: Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector

Nicole Fisher
Date of Publication: 
March, 2016
Source Organization: 

The supply of native-born health care professionals is not keeping pace with the rising demand for health care workers in the Midwest, especially to serve the rapidly growing elderly population.

In a report for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Nicole Fisher argues that immigrants are the key to the future sustainability and vitality of this sector, but the current immigration system makes it difficult and burdensome for foreign-trained health care professionals to work in the U.S. The problem is especially acute in rural areas. The author recommends a number of reforms, including: issuing visas according to labor force demands, removing quotas and caps on doctors and surgeons, and addressing credentialing challenges for foreign-born professionals. The report also notes that shortages also exist among lower-skilled, lower-paid healthcare jobs, such as home health aides. Fisher also recommends allowing uninsured immigrants to access some forms of insurance so that the burden on hospital emergency rooms is eased. She also urges a stepped-up effort to train healthcare professionals to provide linguistically and culturally competent care to the increasingly diverse populations of the Midwest. (Karly Foland for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

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Fisher, N. (2016). Midwest Diagnosis: Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Chicago: IL. Available at: https://globalaffairs.org/research/policy-brief/midwest-diagnosis-immigration-reform-and-healthcare-sector