Cover: Insuring Latinos against the costs of illness

Insuring Latinos against the costs of illness

Published 1991

by R. Burciaga Valdez

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback7 pages $20.00

This paper, the text of testimony presented before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, discusses the limited access of Mexican Americans to medical and mental health care. Of all ethnic groups in the United States, Latinos (Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban-Americans, Central and South Americans) are the least likely to have insurance coverage. In the last ten years, the number of uninsured Mexican Americans increased 150 percent. Most of the uninsured are working people and their dependents. Because Latinos are less likely than any other ethnic group to be salaried or unionized employees, they are less likely to get health benefits. Latinos are also more likely to work in industries that do not provide employee benefits. In addition, Latinos are more likely to work in small firms that have difficulty finding affordable health plans. Many strategies for addressing the problems of the uninsured have been proposed, but have not gained needed support. Until public support for health care system reform takes hold, the author offers the following insurance reform suggestions: limit or eliminate experience rating and return to community rating; eliminate the practice of designating ineligible industries; and stop limiting policies based on size or location. These reforms would broaden access and benefit Latinos and other members of society.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.