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Providing healthcare insurance to 4.9m illegal immigrants would cost the US taxpayer up to $23bn

Providing healthcare insurance to 4.9m illegal immigrants would cost the US taxpayer up to $23bn, study finds

  • Centre for Immigration Study (CIS) published cost study this week
  • CIS has advocated for lower levels of immigration to United States
  • Illegal immigrants covered under ACA could cost taxpayers $23.6bn 
  • Healthcare for illegal immigrants has been a hot topic ahead of 2020 campaign

Providing health insurance to millions of illegal immigrants in the United States could cost tax payers billions of dollars a year.  

The Centre of Immigration Studies (CIS) published a study this week that estimated the cost of a potential policy to offer illegal migrants health insurance could cost anything from $10.4 billion to a total $23.6 billion.

As campaigning for the 2020 presidential campaigns ramps up, healthcare for illegal immigrants has been a hot topic, with those on the left expressing sympathy for it, as those on the right of the spectrum decry its costs. 

File picture shows a number of migrants being taken into custody. A study found policies that offering to cover illegal immigrants’ health insurance could cost the US billions

While candidates have not confirmed any definitive policies around healthcare for those residing illegally in the country, CIS cited a survey that indicated Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren were among those considering one.

Earlier this year, a number of 2020 Democratic hopefuls indicated at a debate in Miami that illegal immigrants could be covered under their health plans.

‘It’s the humane thing to do,’ former Vice President Joe Biden said at the televised MSNBC debate in June.

This week, the CIS, which has advocated for lower levels of immigration into the United States, said in its study there were some 4.9 million illegal immigrants who could be covered under such policies. 

These were those it defined as earning an income 400 per cent below the poverty line and who did not have health insurance – therefore making them eligible to qualify for either Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – otherwise known as ObamaCare. 

The CIS study estimated that if all illegal immigrants received a subsidy under the ACA act it would cost taxpayers $22.6 billion. 

However, this figure would dip to $10.4 billion if the ‘likely enrollment’ rate of 46 per cent was taken into account. 

If a policy maker considered a mixed approach of an ACA subsidy combined with a Medicaid enrollment then the cost at 100 per cent enrollment would be $19.6 per cent, and $10.7 billion if the likely enrollment rate of 46 per cent was taken into account.   

The study authors concluded that the cost of such a policy was ‘high’ and posed a ‘significant burden’ for taxpayers. 

‘Numbers aside, the fact that presidential candidates are advocating spending billions of dollars on people who are in the country illegally is significant in its own right,’ it said. 

‘Tolerating illegal immigration or allowing such workers into the country legally is likely to create a significant burden for taxpayers.’  

It is a move that President Donald Trump seems to think is a no go for policy makers. 

He tweeted: ‘All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!’ 


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