Study Attributes Uninsured Growth to Immigrants

November 11, 2005 ( - A new study claims the growth of the uninsured in American is largely attributable to illegal immigrants.

The Associated Press reports that researchers at the RAND Corporation analyzed data received from about 2,400 people in Los Angeles County in 2000 and 2001, and applied that information to the nation’s undocumented population at large.

The number of uninsured adults in the United States grew by about 8.7 million between 1980 and 2000. The Los Angeles County study found that about a third of that growth can be attributed to illegal immigrants, according to the AP.

The study implies that any meaningful impact on reducing the number of uninsured has to take into account the issue of illegal immigration, said James Smith, a senior economist at RAND. Another study co-author, Neeraj Sood said that since the number of illegal immigrants is growing rapidly, “we can expect that the uninsured population is going to grow rapidly as well.”

The researchers said about one in five illegal immigrant adults have some health insurance coverage through their work, but virtually none of them purchase it on their own. They rarely make use of public insurance through programs such as Medicaid they said.

A recent report issued by the Kaiser Center for Medicaid and the Uninsured found that the immigrant population is not a driving force in the uninsured problem (See Federal Spending on Health Care Lagging Increase in Uninsured ).