Immigrants and health insurance

Michael Mandel

Jane Galt points out something that I did not know: The decline in health insurance coverage in recent years has mainly come among immigrants, not native-born Americans.

Here's the numbers (they come from the census bureau).

Covered by Health Insurance
1995 2000 2005
native-born 86.4 88.1 86.6
foreign born
naturalized citizens 84.2 83.6 82.1
non-citizens 59.6 58.3 56.4

For native-born Americans, the percentage covered by health insurance rose from 1995 to 2000, the peak of the business cycle, and then fell back to roughly the same level in 2005. To me, this looks like purely a business cycle effect.

By contrast, for immigrant citizens and noncitizens, the trend in health insurance has been down.

Does this mean the health insurance crisis could be fixed by treating immigrants better?

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.