The hidden link between health care reform and immigration

If immigrants grab a disproportionate share of the subsidies of health care reform, opposition to immigration will rise.

By , Guest blogger

  • close
    Yolanda Abila held a sign at a November rally in Chicago to celebrate the one-year anniversary of President Obama's election. Supporters signed giant letters encouraging the president to work for change in health care, immigration reform, and other progressive issues.
    View Caption

Will the Obama Health legislation increase political opposition to immigration? I see an expansion of coverage for 30 million people in the United States.

This must be an income transfer to this group and this means that taxpayers will cover this. Now, I do hope that preventative medicine will reduce this group's demand for costly emergency care but I do not know of a NBER quality health economics paper carefully documenting this optimistic claim.

Let's assume that the expansion of health care insurance coverage for the uninsured is an income transfer. If immigrants are over-represented in this group (or if this is even perceived to be true), will political opposition to immigration rise? The economics literature on the determinants of redistribution would say yes.

Read the Alesina and Glaeser book. If you don't have time to read that, then read this . The ugly fact that emerges is that we are not generous when the recipients "look different" than us.

Recommended: Business

Now, how big of a tax price will we collectively face because of this legislation? The CBO doesn't know the answer to this and I don't believe a word of the "scoring" that they do. Health economists will have plenty to do over the next couple of years.

Now, I am a full fan of immigration. In previous blog posts, I have argued that the U.S should auction off 3 million passports a year.

What is the core logic here? Immigrants tend to be poorer than average and younger than average. These groups are over-represented among those who don't have health insurance. Friends of Fox News have already noted this fact .

Add/view comments on this post.

--------------------------

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...