WASHINGTON — Immigrants contributed about $115 billion more from their paychecks to the Medicare Trust Fund than they took out over a seven-year period in the past decade, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.
As the Senate debates a new immigration bill and House Republicans work toward a bill that restricts access to government services for unauthorized immigrants who become legal citizens, the researchers concluded in a study released Wednesday that restricting immigration could deplete the fund.
Researchers looked at data from 2002 to 2009.
"The assumption that immigrants are just a drain has been a part of the argument that people should be denied services," said Leah Zallman, lead researcher and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. "Immigration policy has been closely linked to Medicare's finances."
Studies had shown that immigrants use less health care than U.S.-born people, including in government programs, but no one had looked at their contributions to those programs.