Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Immigrants contributing their fair share for benefit programs

Despite claims that immigrants would be a strain upon the nation's financial resources, immigrants may be receiving far less than what is commonly believed.  A study appears to demonstrate that immigrants are overall paying more into Medicare than what they are receiving in medical care.  

Harvard Medical School researchers that studied the question noted that immigrant workers are already paying taxes to help pay for Medicare, but that undocumented workers are not eligible for either Medicare or Social Security.  Also, compromises were required in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and one such compromise prohibited undocumented immigrants from receiving these health benefits.

We do not often take into consideration the average age of the immigrants entering into California and the United States.  Immigrants are on-average younger than residents born in the country. And because of the younger age, even documented workers would less likely be eligible than other citizens for benefits that are doled out. Also, in part because the immigrants are younger, immigrants tend to be healthier and have lower mortality rates than U.S. born citizens.

The practice of immigration law by attorneys is aimed at not separating family members from one another. However, the unavailability of medical care will only encourage family members to remain behind while undocumented immigrant workers come to the United States to support the family members they have left behind.

The immigration legislation that is passing through Congress may or may not resolve the dilemma that immigrants face when it comes to medical coverage. Though popular belief may discourage providing benefits to immigrants, encouraging immigrants to come to our country may actually prove to be beneficial. Currently programs like Social Security and Medicare are being depleted because a greater percentage of citizens are elderly. Bringing in a large number of younger individuals into our country could possibly result in Medicare and Medicaid be replenished.

Source: California Healthline, "Study: Immigrants Pay More Into Medicare Than They Receive in Benefits," May 30, 2013

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