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NYT: Health Care For Illegals Costs Less

From the ‘Prescriptions’ blog of the New York Times which shamelessly lobbies for Mr. Obama’s healthcare reform, day in and day out:

What Caring for Immigrants Costs


February 11, 2010

Medical care for immigrants who are in the country illegally has long been a sore subject. Emotions boiled over last fall when Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, shouted “You lie!” after President Obama, in a speech before Congress, denied that undocumented immigrants would receive free coverage under the Democrats’ proposed health care legislation.

Now, a new study published online in the journal Health Affairs suggests that, contrary to popular perception, immigrants actually cost the health care system less per person than do natives of the United States. Nor do illegal immigrants make up a disproportionate share of the costs to public programs like Medicaid, researchers found.

The study examined health care spending (which includes public, private and out-of-pocket spending) between 1999 and 2006 for three groups: adult naturalized citizens; immigrant noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants; and native citizens.

Over all, spending increased across all groups during the study period. But spending for noncitizens was on average about 50 percent less than spending for United States natives, the study found. In 2006, for example, per capita spending for native-born United States citizens was $3,723, while spending for noncitizens was $1,904. (The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, on which the analysis was based, doesn’t break out the proportion of noncitizens who were in the country illegally.)

A similar pattern emerged for spending on public programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Public spending for immigrants was slightly lower per capita than spending for United States-born natives in each of the eight years studied.

Uncompensated care — health care visits for which providers do not ultimately receive any sort of payment — was a different matter. Roughly 13 percent of noncitizens had at least one such visit in 2006, compared with 11 percent of native born United States citizens. This is perhaps not surprising, given that under the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, immigrants must live in the United States for at least five years before becoming eligible for Medicaid.

Although other studies have found similar spending patterns, this research emerges at a particularly sensitive political moment. As lawmakers jockey to advance favorite policy options to control health spending, “It doesn’t seem like immigrants are the driving force behind higher health care costs,” said Jim Stimpson, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

And we believe this, too.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 12th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “NYT: Health Care For Illegals Costs Less”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    “Badges? We don’t need no steenking badges!”

    (don’t know why, it just came to mind, just before they all got shot to sh**)

  2. canary says:

    How the heck can the author of the study, an assistant professor of social and behaviroal sciences, even have access to the medical information needed to base a study. HOW? a survey?

    “(The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey)”

    said “Jim Simpson” assistant professor. Sure don’t see DOCTOR in his name. Perhaps just an assistant to a professor working on his thesis.

    Jim Stimpson: Dear everyone in health care system, Hi. my name is Jim. I’m doing a survey. Can you give me the Social Security Numbers of patients for a study I’m doing? It make take alot of years and your expensive time, and drive up your health care costs $$$$$$$$$$$ to help me in a study. While I don’t have the government authorization, that you will also need to acquire & give to me, I would appreciate your answering thousands of questions and mailing me thousands of pages. I realize this study will destroy a lot of trees & cost you enough to manage a national park, but please, please, please, convince your bosses that working on their time in the next few years will help you care for more illegals in the country for free.
    I plan to release my study in the next 5 or 6 years at a sensitive time.

    P.S. Together we can work for the next 5 or 6 years and complete my study at a sensitive time. I am not too good at math, so please do a math check.

    Also, Hospitals need not respond. Mexicans that do not seek early care are more apt to wait and go to a hospital and die, though their families do enjoy camping out in emergency rooms. It beats a 10 by 10 shack for 3 families in Mexico.
    Sincerely, Jim Stimpson

    Of course most illegals aren’t going to be in any system that requires social security verification EXCEPT for illegals who have FAKE documentation that would not show they are illegal.

  3. Mithrandir says:

    You know, it’s like any salesman who has ever lived: “This extra accessory doesn’t cost that much—shall I include it in the price?”

    Yeah, it doesn’t cost that much because I AM PAYING FOR IT! It’s cheap when it doesn’t cost YOU money, but as soon as it does, it’s expensive!

    I always turn the tables on the salesman, “So, if it doesn’t cost that much (monthly payments) then you don’t mind giving it to me for nothing then do you? It doesn’t cost YOU that much does it?” Yeah, I thought so!

    Why don’t we just bill Mexico for the cost of treating their citizens who are here illegally, “It doesn’t cost that much……”

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