Immigrants Paid $115 Billion More to Medicare than Amount of Benefits They Received

Friday, May 31, 2013

While Congress debates the merits of immigration reform and whether to legalize the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants, a new study shows immigrants contribute far more to Medicare than they receive in terms of medical care.


Researchers at Harvard Medical School analyzed immigrants’ contributions to the area of Medicare that covers hospital care and found they generated surpluses totaling $115 billion from 2002 to 2009. Immigrants made 14.7% of all contributions to that fund in 2009, but only received 7.9% of its benefits.


In comparison, those born in the U.S. used more in benefits than they paid into Medicare, creating a deficit of $28 billion over the same period.


The numbers demonstrate that immigrants are not a drain on federal health care spending, as anti-immigration voices contend.


“There’s this strong belief that immigrants are takers,” Leighton Ku, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University, told The New York Times. “This shows they are contributing hugely. Without immigrants, the Medicare trust fund would be in trouble sooner.”


Immigrants help make up the younger strata of society who pay into programs like Medicare, but don’t access them yet because they are not age eligible. This allows the money they pay through taxes to go towards covering the medical costs of older generations, such as the retiring Baby Boomers who are increasingly turning to federal health care coverage.


The study utilized data culled from two federal surveys conducted by the Census Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services. Included in the analysis were Medicare contributions made by unauthorized immigrants, non-citizen legal residents, and foreign-born citizens.


A similar study conducted by the Social Security Administration concluded that immigrants living illegally in the U.S. generated a $12 billion surplus for the Social Security Trust Fund in 2010.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

For Medicare, Immigrants Offer Surplus, Study Finds (by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times)

Immigrants Subsidize Medicare Recipients, Study Says (by Kelly Kennedy, USA Today)

Study: Immigrants Boost Medicare Hospital Fund (by Sara Murray, Wall Street Journal)

Immigrants Contributed An Estimated $115.2 Billion More To The Medicare Trust Fund Than They Took Out In 2002–09 (by Leah Zallman, Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein, David Bor and Danny McCormick; Health Affairs) (pdf)

Illegal Workers Received $4 Billion in Refundable Tax Credits Last Year (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)  

Illegal Immigrants Pay $11 Billion in Taxes a Year (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)  


Carl 5 years ago
Illegal immigrants? As for Medicare, yes that is for those over age 65, so all the new legal immigrants don't qualify yet. What about Medicaid, for the poor. Do they care to study that? The article spins this issue around as somehow supporting another mass amnesty.
Dave Francis 5 years ago
In at least one decisive aspect, from the Gang of Eight's immigration bill (S.477) that was passed out of the Judiciary Committee, left exactly the same way it went into the mark-up as it came in? There is literary little or NO enforcement that was demanded by the people, before 11 million illegal aliens begin to obtain their legal status and provisional work permits. It is Questionable of whether to put amnesty prior to enforcement or enforcement before amnesty was essential to the debate. The whole premise was the enforcement triggers that were the most urgent of the amendments, but rejected by the mostly Senate Democrats, with a small contingent of Republicans. The left laid it on real thick in retreating from the amendments that would make Americans safer and give them a fighting chance of competing with these new processed people. The problem is that the national press is misleading the public, because what we are seeing is a return to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) with very little change when it comes to the enforcement mechanics? The Fence will more or less remain the same, with massive unenforceable areas, with nothing but a few barbed wire strands. More cameras, agents and equipment maybe, but NOT the double layer fencing that became law in 2006? Not much has changed—although mandatory E-Verify will be enacted, the trouble with even that it will not be fully operational for 18 months, especially now U.S. citizens and lawful residents cannot find a job. The jobless rate for high-school graduates is higher now than it was in May 2007, as is the unemployment rate for college graduates. The employment-population ratio for high school graduates was nearly 60 percent in May 2007; it is now just over 54 percent. And the number of guest workers brought in by the G-8 bill could be much greater than 200,000 a year. Unemployment rate in the United States is 7.5 percent, or more than 12 million still looking for work. That’s not counting the ones who have given up looking for work. These are the people who should get priority, not people who violated the law to cross into America in the first place, then committed a felony by using another citizens/resident Social Security number to get a job or lied to the agent at the inboard airline arrivals. Do the math — 12 million Americans are out of work, so we will acquire 11 million illegal’s and make citizens of them. Isn’t that wonderful? Twelve million pink slipped American workers will then have to compete with 11 million former illegal aliens for any jobs that become available. Then laws regarding welfare were rejected, that would halt the public assistance dam from spilling over and turning into a torrent. Then another controversial bombshell from the Heritage Foundation hit the headlines, that settling illegal aliens after being lawfully recognized would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion dollars. This dollar figure is to support them over a 50 year period once legalized. The 11million population number is a controversy in itself, as that has been touring the newspapers for at least a decade, give or take a million. Then we have Guest worker demanded by agriculture and the agrarian community. Is this going to be another fraudulent game played by lawyers for their corporate benefactors, or middlemen bending the rules to produce another cheap labor pool? I just see any regulations by the labor department to ramp up vetting or a move to strict organized system, to approve work permits with the emphasis that there is no road to a path to citizenship for the guest worker and family. That the rules are clear that once your permit expires, you must return home or have it renewed; they cannot disappear from their farming job, meat packing or what Americans will not do, for poor wages and head for the big cities. As for STEM workers at the highest skill level who would like to immigrate, but all the rest should be selected from the thousands of highly intelligent Americans who have graduated with a PH.D. EVENTUALLY I SEE A DESPERATE NEED AS MANY OTHER DEVELOPED NATIONS TO ISSUE EVERY BIRTHRIGHT OR NATURALIZED CITIZEN A BIOMETRIC NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION CARD. WE CAN ALL BE VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT, BUT A FEDERAL ID CARD CAN SAVE YOU FROM BECOMING A CASUALTY? ONLY AUTHORIZED WORKERS CAN BE HIRED, EITHER WITH THIS LAMINATED NON-COUNTERFEIT CARD WITH YOUR FINGERPRINTS AND/OR STATE OF THE ART RETINAL SCAN. AMERICAN WORKERS WOULD NOT HAVE TO COMPETE WITH ILLEGAL WORKERS WITH STOLEN SECURITY NUMBERS. AS A FURTHER SECURITY PROBABILITY THE CARD WOULD ANNOUNCE YOU AS A CITIZEN WITH THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THIS IS NOT LIKE WE HAVE NOW—WHICH IS AN INTENTIONAL CHAOS, PLAYED OUT BY THE LIBERALS AND OTHER TOXIC PARTIES, WHO DISPLAY A BLIND EYE TO ACTUALLY VOTES, INCLUDING IN A LARGE PROPORTIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS. A PERJURY WARNING ON THE VOTING APPLICATION MEANS NOTHING AS ILLEGAL ALIENS HAVE ALREADY BROKEN THE LAW TWICE, SO VOTING ILLEGALLY MEANS NOTHING TO THEM? THERE IS NO RESTRICTIONS AS A SERIOUS PUNISHMENT WHEN THEY VOTE, BUT A NATIONAL ID CARD WOULD MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR NON-CITIZENS TO VOTE? CAN WE EVEN HOPE TO CALCULATE THE NUMBER OF NON-CITIZENS WHO COMMITTED VOTER FRAUD IN THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS? The further benefit would be to alleviate the mental pain of a criminal stealing your credit information and the years of rage and frustration to resolve this issue, that is still growing substantially? That 11 million of illegal aliens includes the cost of putting all of them on national retirement programs, such as Social Security and Medicaid and Obama health care should it still exist? A further impact was a discussion this week hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center that stated that under current law, American-born, adult children of illegal aliens can seek green cards for their parents and siblings in family chain migration. In the Heritage revision from the foundations previous study by its fellow researcher Robert Rector added that half of the current population of roughly 11 million illegal immigrants has U.S.-born child that could enroll parents in retirement programs, which cost taxpayers roughly $22,000 per retiree annually. Another amnesty would allow all illegal immigrants to sign up for retirement programs, and also to bring in millions of their relatives who could also sign up for the retirement programs. That is a vicious financial circle that could not be contained in Medicare and Medicaid for the poor, that is already running out of stream as Social Security. Rector said at the meeting, “If your interest is saving the American taxpayer trillions of dollars, close that loophole,” Rector adding “We should not grant amnesty and we should also close that loophole.” He further went on to say, “The 11 million illegal immigrants have an average education equivalent to the 10th grade. If amnestied, that in the May 6 Heritage Foundation report stated, that legalized immigrants they would be on track to received $9.3 trillion in benefits over the next 50 years, and pay ONLY $3 trillion in taxes — just like the corresponding unskilled Americans labor? Then we have our own share of people or rather “Freeloaders” who are the leeches in our society. Admittedly it’s a bad time for millions of jobless American, but there is a good half of our own citizens/residents who run and hide, if ”work” turns up in their vocabulary. In the daily comments I read every day, there are illustrations of methods illegal aliens and American go to thwarting the welfare system and entitlements. Food stamps are especially vulnerable to the criminal element ACTION: We must Stop Amnesty Now. Congress is in this flat-out race with each party to eliminate border security. Behind closed doors right now the "Gang of 8” is creating a plan to give millions of illegal aliens free citizenship. We need you to help us conduct a full frontal attack on every member of Congress by contacting the main switchboard toll-free--1-888-978-3094--? As TAXPAYERS we must send urgent and personalized free Fax bombardment messages to ALL 100 U.S. Senators AND ALL 435 U.S. Representatives at their DC offices by going on NumbersUSA website. There is also access to petitions to let your representatives know what you are thinking. You can even learn to a much greater extent, daily antics at the border in the selected rural and national press, that Washington prefers to keep away from your eyes. American Patrol is the place to go for storage of news reports from across the country. Then Judicial Watch the latest fillings relating to political corruption in state and federal government agencies, with emphasis on the illegal alien invasion. REMEMBER YOU CAN ALSO SUFFOCATE THE SOCIAL NETWORKS, LOCAL TV SHOWS AND ANYWHERE YOU CAN VOICE YOUR OPINION, TO SAVE AMERICA FROM ANOTHER OBAMA DEFICIT THAT HASN’T STOP RISING WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, AND NOW FREEDOM FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE VICTIMIZED AMERICANS; STEALING THEIR JOBS AND CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES THAT IS NOT PUBLICIZED BY THE PRESS OR THE LEFT.

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