Immigrants in the U.S. are not placing a large financial burden on the healthcare system, according to an article published in the journal Health Affairs.
Immigrants not a big healthcare burden: study
“The suspected burden that undocumented immigrants may place on the U.S. healthcare system has been a flashpoint in healthcare and immigration reform debates,” according to the article, Trends in Health Care Spending for Immigrants in the United States, which examined healthcare spending between 1999 and 2006 for both adult naturalized citizens and immigrant noncitizens, including some undocumented immigrants.
The study detailed in the article found that the cost of providing healthcare to immigrants is lower than that of providing care to U.S. citizens and that immigrants are not contributing disproportionately to high healthcare costs in public programs like Medicaid. While expenditures increased for all these groups, “the average expenditures for noncitizens were about 50% smaller than for U.S. natives,” the article stated.
Noncitizen immigrants, however, were more likely than U.S. citizens to have a healthcare visit classified as uncompensated care, the findings indicated.
“It is likely that lower expenditures among noncitizens are due to lower need for services and to increasing barriers to care such as fear, lack of insurance, or lack of a regular provider. These findings have important implications for both immigration and healthcare reform,” the study's authors stated.
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