Saturday, July 27, 2013

Study: Immigrants contribute more to Medicare than they receive.

Several major national papers picked up a new study out of Harvard Medical School which found that immigrants have given more money to Medicare than they have received. As the New York Times (5/30, Tavernise, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reports, the study by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that immigrants “have contributed billions of dollars more to Medicare in recent years than the program has paid out on their behalf.” The study, which “measured immigrants’ contributions to the part of Medicare that pays for hospital care,” found that “immigrants generated surpluses totaling $115 billion from 2002 to 2009.” In comparison, the American-born population “incurred a deficit of $28 billion over the same period.”
        The Los Angeles Times (5/30, Levey, 692K) reports that the study’s authors “estimate that these immigrants are helping to support the Medicare program because many pay taxes, while they are ineligible to receive benefits.” The report’s lead author, Dr. Leah Zallman, an internist and Harvard Medical School instructor, stated: “Our study should raise skepticism about the widespread assumption that immigrants drain public healthcare resources.”
        USA Today (5/30, Kennedy, 1.71M) reports, “Studies had shown that immigrants use less health care than U.S.-born people, including in government programs, but no one had looked at their contributions to those programs.” Researchers “found that immigrants ages 18 to 64 on average contributed only about $100 less a year than did U.S.-born people, which is contrary to conventional wisdom that immigrants don’t earn enough to contribute.” According to USA Today, “the difference comes because there are more immigrants of working age than retirement age.”
        Also reporting are the Wall Street Journal (5/30, Murray, 2.29M), Bloomberg News (5/30, Cortez), Reuters (5/30, Heavey), The Hill(5/30, Viebeck, 21K) on its “Healthwatch” blog, MedPage Today (5/30, Pittman), Modern Healthcare (5/30, Zigmond, Subscription Publication, 71K), and Kaiser Health News (5/30, Rau).

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