Myth: Immigrants Are a Threat to Workable Health Care Reform

FACT: The more people who pay into a system of health insurance, the more everyone benefits. An important function of health insurance is to pool risks and use premiums collected from the healthy to pay for the medical care of those who need it.

FACT: U.S. citizens make up the majority of those who are uninsured. U.S. citizens make up the majority of the uninsured (78%), while legal and undocumented immigrants account for 22% of the nonelderly uninsured.

FACT: Immigrants do not impose a disproportionate financial burden on the U.S. health care system. According to a July 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health, immigrants use less medical care, and less expensive care, even when they have health insurance.

  • Immigrants’ per-person medical expenditures were one-half to two-thirds less than U.S.-born citizens with similar characteristics. Health care costs for the average immigrant in America are 55% lower than health care costs for the average U.S.-born person. Another study found that, in 2005, average annual per capita health care expenditures for noncitizens were $1,797-versus $3,702 for U.S. citizens.
  • Recent immigrants were responsible for 1.4% of total public medical expenditures for adults in 2003, even though they constituted 5% of the population. (fn. 1)

So, if you think that immigrants are the reason why we can’t solve the health care problem … think again!

If you have questions about an immigration matter, please do not hesitate to give me a call at 616-233-9300 to schedule a meeting. And, thank you for reading my blog.

fn. 1  AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09080561 (posted Aug. 5, 2009)



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