Pointing to at least one reason why Latin@s are inclined to head in the direction of non-Western medicine, the Kaiser Foundation released a study detailing an extreme shortage of physicians in the Texas and Florida areas:
Access to care is a particularly “dire” issue for Hispanics, who have limited access to physicians because they are mostly employed by small businesses and are uninsured, the Express-News reports. Hispanics make up the largest group of uninsured people in Texas border cities. About 66% of Hispanic workers are employed by companies that provide employer-sponsored health insurance, Roland Angel, professor of sociology at the University of Texas-Austin, said. In comparison, more than 80% of blacks and whites have employer-sponsored health insurance (Poling, San Antonio Express-News, 11/14).
I wondered two things while reading this report. First, why are there scare quotes around “dire”? Is the situation not really “dire”? Is “dire” really just code word for “rolling eyes at stupid panicky brown people” (ala John McCain’s scare quotes around “health” when referencing women’s health exceptions for abortion)?
The second thing I wondered is why does the solution that many hospitals have found to this shortage problem seem to be a sort of scary “oh nos!” sort of scenario?
As Central Florida faces a physician shortage, some hospitals are recruiting physicians directly from Puerto Rico “because Puerto Rican doctors know Spanish” and “they are a good cultural fit for Metro Orlando,” which has a large Hispanic population, the Orlando Sentinel reports. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an estimated 455,592 Hispanics live in the area.
Jorge Lopez — president of Florida Emergency Physicians, who recruits physicians for the Florida Hospital System — has traveled many times to Puerto Rico to recruit physicians. He said, “What we try to do is identify those who have already decided to leave. And when we go, we’re lucky if we can recruit one or two because there are so many other hospitals competing for them.” He added, “They are very competent doctors with fantastic hands-on experience. They are American citizens and bilingual. It’s one of our favorite places to recruit”
After I finished reading this, I felt like screaming “oh nos, the ricans are stealing all our jobs!” Not sure why–there’s nothing implicitly anti-Latin@ in this passage. Maybe it’s just the way “dire” in quotes framed how I read the rest of the article.
What do you think? Are we all supposed to be scared to death of Latin@s stealing all the good jobs? Or does this article really care?