Photo: Health spending
A study by a University of Nebraska Medical Center researcher revealed that unauthorized immigrants have lower health care expenditures compared to legal residents, naturalized citizens and U.S. natives.
The study, which analyzed health expenditure data from the medical expenditure panel survey taken between 2000 and 2009, was conducted by Jim Stimpson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Policy at UNMC. Results were published in the June issue of the health policy journal, Health Affairs.
It was found that U.S. natives spent $1 trillion on health care. By contrast all immigrants – unauthorized, legal and illegal – spent one-tenth that amount or $96.7 billion.
Unauthorized immigrants accounted for $15.4 billion of that total, or 15.9 percent.
It also was found that an estimated 5.9 percent of unauthorized immigrants received care that providers are not reimbursed for, compared to 2.8 percent of U.S. natives in the same category. Dr. Stimpson speculated that this may be because unauthorized immigrants are much more likely to lack health insurance when compared to U.S. natives.
These findings reflect a history of policies that block access to health care for unauthorized immigrants, he said.