New UIC Data: How Illinois Benefits When Immigrants Get Health Coverage

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Public funding of healthcare coverage for the uninsured pays for itself in a panoply of benefits that reach well beyond the individuals who receive such assistance. A review of data by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois Chicago research brief, commissioned by the Healthy Illinois Campaign and released at a symposium at the North Lawndale Employment Network offices, shows how two state programs for the uninsured bolster the significant contribution of non-citizen immigrants individuals to the state’s economy and its tax base. The campaign aims to maintain funding for two existing programs, Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors, which fill gaps in coverage by targeting Illinois residents who would otherwise qualify for federal Medicaid but are ineligible due to their immigration status. The recent cuts to these programs hurt not only individuals who can’t get coverage, but their children, their families and the communities where they live. The fact sheet findings include:

Immigrants Work: U.S. citizen adults aged 19-64, had an employment rate of 95.4 percent, while the employment rate for noncitizens in that age range was 96.5 percent.

Immigrants Pay Taxes: Immigrant-led households in Illinois had $54.9 billion in spending power in 2021, paying $8.6 billion in state and local taxes and $13.1 billion in federal taxes.

Productivity Rises: After the 2010 Affordable Care Act expansion of Medicaid, new recipients reported an 8 percent decrease in the number of workdays missed due to poor health.

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