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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Finds Unauthorized Immigrants Have Prolonged the Life of the Medicare Trust Fund

CUNY School of Public Health researchers and colleagues used data from the 2000 to 2011 Current Population Survey and Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys to estimate the impact of contributions and withdrawals by unauthorized immigrants to the Medicare Trust Fund. Between 2000 and 2011 unauthorized immigrants contributed $2.2 to $3.8 billion more than they withdrew annually. The net contribution of unauthorized immigrants extended the life of the trust fund by 1 year. Unauthorized immigrants have prolonged the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and policies that curtail the influx of unauthorized immigrants may accelerate the fund’s depletion.

CUNY researchers, Drs. James P. Stimpson, associate dean of academic affairs, Dr. David Himmelstein and Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, both professors of health policy and management, and colleagues from the Institute for Community Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Harvard Medical School coauthored the study. It was published online June 18 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.