NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 29, 2007

Hillary Clinton says health care reform should start with coverage for "the 9 million uninsured children," a figure that's now a mantra of Democrats and even some in the GOP.  But it's not that alarming, and real reform should start with immigration, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

What Hillary doesn't tell you is that the lion's share of uninsured kids are children of Hispanic immigrants, many of them here illegally:

  • The 3.5 million kids in Hispanic households who lack insurance now account for 40 percent of all uninsured children; the recent surge in immigration, mostly from Mexico, is what's driven the uninsured levels higher.
  • Immigrants accounted for a third of the increase in the uninsured from 1994 to 1998, according to a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI); from 1998 to 2003 they accounted for 86 percent of the growth in the uninsured.

"To the degree that immigration continues to increase, it is likely that the uninsured will also continue to increase as a proportion of the population," a recent EBRI study said.  It added that immigrants are much more likely to be uninsured than citizens.

  • Almost 50 percent of foreign-born noncitizens, largely Hispanic immigrants, were uninsured in 2003, according to the latest survey.
  • Also, immigrants from Mexico and Central America are more than three times as likely to be uninsured as those from Europe and Canada.

Why?  Hispanic immigrants tend to hold low-wage jobs in retail, farming and construction that are less likely to offer health benefits, EBRI said.

If politicians were really interested in saving health dollars, they would first curb the easy and massive immigration from the south. That's the main source of the problem, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Care For Los Ninos," Investor's Business Daily, January 26, 2007.


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