The Intersection of National Immigration and Healthcare Policy

J Am Board Fam Med. 2018 Jan-Feb;31(1):163-165. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2018.01.170204.


Immigration policy and health care policy remain principal undertakings of the federal government. The two have recently been pursued independently in the judicial and legislative arenas. Unbeknownst to many policymakers, however, national immigration policy and health care policy are linked in ways that, if unattended, could undermine the well-being of a significant portion of the US population, specifically medically underserved rural and urban populations. Using current data from a workforce report of the Association of American Colleges and the published literature, we demonstrate the significant impact that contemporary immigration policy directives may have on the number and distribution of international medical graduates who currently provide-and by the year 2025 will provide-a significant portion of primary health care in the United States, especially in underserved small urban and rural communities.

Keywords: Health Policy; Immigration; Medically Underserved Area; Primary Health Care; Rural Population.

MeSH terms

  • Emigration and Immigration / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Emigration and Immigration / trends
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / statistics & numerical data
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / trends
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Primary Health Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / trends
  • Rural Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Rural Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Health Services / trends
  • United States
  • Urban Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Urban Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Urban Health Services / trends
  • Workforce / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Workforce / statistics & numerical data
  • Workforce / trends