Illegal Aliens Cost the U.S.A. $18.5 BILLION a Year in Health Care Costs


Illegal Aliens are costing the U.S. billions a year in health care costs that the illegals never pay for, a report says. And that is even though federal law supposedly prohibits this spending.

Federal law claims that no federal dollars can go to pay for health care for illegals. Unfortunately, this is a smoke screen because literally BILLIONS of our tax dollars go to fund medical care for illegals anyway.

Forbes magazine’s Chris Conover recent ran the numbers and came up with at least $18.5 billon of our tax dollars wasted on health care for illegals.

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Earlier this year, Connor noted that “rough estimates suggest that the nation’s 3.9 million uninsured immigrants who are unauthorized likely receive about $4.6 billion in health services paid for by federal taxes, $2.8 billion in health services financed by state and local taxpayers, another $3.0 bankrolled through “cost-shifting” i.e., higher payments by insured patients to cover hospital uncompensated care losses, and roughly $1.5 billion in physician charity care. In addition to these amounts, unauthorized immigrants likely benefit from at least $0.9 billion in implicit federal subsidies due to the tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals and another $5.7 billion in tax expenditures from the employer tax exclusion.”

“All told, Americans cross-subsidize health care for unauthorized immigrants to the tune of $18.5 billion a year,” Connor said adding, “federal taxpayers provided $11.2 billion in subsidized care to unauthorized immigrants in 2016.”

Connor went on to describe how federal law is meant to prohibit the use of U.S. tax dollars to fund medical care for illegals. But all those laws are bent into pretzels as our taxes go to fund exactly what it is supposed to leave unpaid.

“Specifically, in 2013 (the latest available such figures), America’s uninsured generated $84.9 billion in uncompensated care costs,” Connor wrote.

Of those costs:

  • 39% was covered by various federal programs (e.g., disproportionate share payments to hospitals);
  • 23% by state and local governments (e.g., via taxpayer support of state and locally owned hospitals);
  • 12% came in the form of physician charity care covered;
  • 25%–was covered by hospitals (arguably by “cost-shifting” i.e., higher charges to privately insured patients that effectively cross-subsidize care for patients who do not pay full freight etc.). An unknown fraction of this stems from EMTALA–the Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act–a federal law that requires hospitals to treat emergency patients regardless of their ability to pay. EMTALA is an example of “taxation by regulation” insofar as the same outcome might have been achieved by using tax dollars to pay hospitals to treat such patients voluntarily.

“Assuming unauthorized immigrants received a pro rata share of such support (i.e., 14%),” Connor added, “they account for the $11.9 billion in uncompensated care costs, financed as follows:”

  • $4.6 billion–federal taxpayers
  • $2.8 billion–state and local taxpayers
  • $3.0 billion–hospital charity care/bad debts arguably cost-shifted to private patients
  • $1.5 billion–physician charity care

“It might puzzle some readers that the federal government is paying for any care for unauthorized immigrants in light of federal policy. This can happen through fraud, to be sure, but as explained earlier, most of this occurs indirectly through various federal programs that fund institutions rather than individuals. These include hospitals (Medicaid/Medicare DSH payments) and community health centers/free clinics.”

In other words, while pretending NOT to pay for the medical costs of illegals, we are doing it anyway.

Imagine how much MORE we are going to be forced to pay if even MORE illegals are allowed in as Democrats want?

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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