According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the data reveals that immigrants and their children accounted for 42 percent of the growth in Medicaid enrollment from 2011 to 2013.
Medicaid expansion, a key part of Obamacare, is targeted for those with low incomes and immigrants benefited more than natives because a much larger share are poor and uninsured.
“It seems almost certain that immigrants and their children will continue to benefit disproportionately from Obamacare, as they remain much more likely than natives to be uninsured or poor,” the authors state. The data show that Medicaid growth is associated with immigrants who, for the most part, are legally in the U.S.
Other key findings of the study are:
- The number of immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) on Medicaid grew twice as fast as the number of natives and their children on Medicaid from 2011 to 2013 — 11 percent vs. 5 percent.
- Immigrants and their children accounted for 42 percent of Medicaid enrollment growth from 2011 to 2013, even though they accounted for only 17 percent of the nation’s total population and 23 percent of overall U.S. population growth over this time period.
- About two-thirds of the growth in Medicaid associated with immigrants was among immigrants themselves, rather than the U.S.-born children of immigrants.
- The increase in Medicaid enrollment among immigrants and their children can be roughly estimated as costing $4.6 billion annually.
- By 2013, 25 percent of immigrants and their children were on Medicaid, compared to 16 percent of natives and their children.
- Partly because of increased Medicaid enrollment, the share of immigrants and their children without health insurance declined more dramatically than for natives, from 28 percent in 2011 to 23 percent in 2013 — a five percentage-point decline. Among natives and their children, it fell from 13 percent to 11 percent — a two percentage-point decline.
- Medicaid accounted for 41 percent of the decline in uninsurance associated with immigrants, while it accounted for only 24 percent of the decline in uninsurance among natives and their children.
- Although Medicaid use among immigrants and their children is substantially higher than for natives and their children, it is still the case that 23 percent of immigrants and their children were uninsured in 2013 — twice the rate for natives.
- Overall, nearly half (48 percent) of immigrants and their children were uninsured or on Medicaid in 2013, compared to slightly over a quarter of natives (27 percent).