Immigrants aren’t so taxing
The Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen, TX), isn’t by any means the biggest media source around, but when it comes to immigration issues, reporters like Melissa McIver, do a great job.
Undocumented immigrants aren’t taxing the health care system as much as people think, according to a report released Thursday from the liberal Center for American Progress.
The public believes many “myths” about the impact of illegal immigration on health care availability, says the report, which cites studies in medical journals, reports from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and U.S. Department of Labor statistics as sources.
These misconceptions include beliefs that immigrants are “overburdening” public health programs like Medicaid, that immigrants are crossing the border solely to access health care and that immigrants are “free riders” in the system, the report says.
Another “myth,” according to the report, is that immigrants are voracious health care consumers, clogging doctor’s offices and clinics. Actually, because immigrants are likely to be uninsured, they’re more likely to hold off on accessing health care until the problem is severe, the report says.
Health experts and local officials said that although undocumented immigrants pose “some burden” on Texas’ health-care system, the bigger burden is the growing uninsured population.
“The fundamental problem is that 25 percent (of Texans) are uninsured,” said Ernie Schmid, director of policy analysis for Texas Hospital Association. “Of that, only a small portion are immigrants.”
The solution is to make sure that all residents, including immigrants, have access to primary care, said one local health official.