Study: Immigrants have lower health-care costs than people born in US

Study: Immigrants have lower health-care costs than people born in US
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A new study finds that immigrants have lower health-care costs than people born in the United States, meaning they are likely helping support public health insurance programs like Medicare.

The report from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University examined all peer-reviewed studies since 2000 on immigrants’ health-care costs in the United States. It found that immigrants’ health-care expenditures were one-half to two-thirds those of people born in the U.S.

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“Overall, immigrants almost certainly paid more toward medical expenses than they withdrew, providing a low-risk pool that subsidized the public and private health insurance markets,” the study states.

It comes as the Trump administration is reportedly considering new rules that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens if they have used health-care programs like ObamaCare insurance or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  

The researchers found that immigrants make up 12 percent of the population but only account for 8.6 percent of total U.S. health-care spending.

Among immigrants in the country illegally, the study finds the group makes up 1.4 percent of U.S. health-care spending but is 5 percent of the population.

Even when examining only immigrants who had health insurance, the study found they lower health spending than U.S.-born people with insurance. Spending of insured immigrants was 52 percent lower than that of insured U.S.-born individuals.

Several of the researchers are members of Physicians for a National Health Program, a group that supports single-payer health care.

“Our findings show that immigrants are clearly bringing down per capita health care costs and are likely subsidizing care for native-born Americans,” one of the authors, Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. “Instead of attacking immigrants for driving up costs, we should recognize their proven economic contributions.”

Updated at 1:29 p.m.