A new study on the health care costs of illegal immigration found that only a fraction of the expenses are paid for by public funds. The numbers translate to $11 per American household, but critics are calling the report a gross underestimate.
Researchers at Santa Monica?s Rand Corporation found that out of $6 billion in national health care expenses a year, public sources only foot a $1.1 billion bill. The report also found that illegal immigrants tend to be younger and healthier than their legal counterparts, resulting in less use of health services.
A different study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform found that California taxpayers alone spent about $1.4 billion on health care for illegal immigrants.
The healthcare industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries. Consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product of most developed nations, health care can form an enormous part of a country’s economy. In 2003, health care costs paid to hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies, medical device manufacturers and other components of the health care system, consumed 15.3 percent of the GDP of the United States, the largest of any country in the world. In 2001, for the OECD countries the average was 8.4 percent with the United States (13.9%), Switzerland (10.9%), and Germany (10.7%) being the top three.
The healthcare industry includes the delivery of health services by health care providers. Usually such services receive payment from the patient or from the patient’s insurance company; although they may be government-financed (such as the National Health Service in the United Kingdom) or delivered by charities or volunteers, particularly in poorer countries.