NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Considering Immigration And The Health-Insurance Issue

July 18, 2000

A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies claims that immigrants and their children make up more than half the growth in the nation's uninsured population since 1993.

  • About 44 million U.S. residents lack health insurance, with immigrants and their children making up more than a quarter of that population.
  • But since 1993, some 59 percent of the growth in the ranks of the uninsured was propelled by both legal and illegal immigrants and their children, according to the center.
  • Also, 26 percent of the nation's uninsured are living in households headed by an immigrant.
  • Even immigrants in high-earning households -- those making more than $75,000 a year -- tend to have lower rates of health insurance coverage than their native-born counterparts.

Another study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that a desire for health insurance is not what attracts illegal immigrants to the U.S. Rather, it is the desire for jobs or to reunite with family. That study also found that those who immigrated here illegally use fewer medical services than the general population.

Source: Julie Appleby, "Studies Look at Issues of Immigrants, Insurance," USA Today, July 18, 2000.


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