Undocumented immigrants represent a growing percentage of the uninsured, a new study from researchers at the Urban Institute concludes. Between 1999 and 2007, the number of undocumented and uninsured immigrants grew from 8.5 million to 11.8 million and as a result, “the proportion of the uninsured in America who are undocumented immigrants increased from 1 in 8 (12.5 percent) to 1 in 7 (14.6 percent)”:
The Affordable Care Act will not provide subsidized coverage for the undocumented in the state-based exchanges, meaning that they will “eventually constitute a larger percentage of the uninsured population unless other policy actions are taken to provide for their coverage, or their immigration status is changed.”
In the meantime, the uninsured will continue to receive care in community health centers, emergency Medicaid services and through the nation’s doctors and hospitals — just as federal funding for uncompensated care decreases. But as Dr. Stephen Zuckerman, the author of the study, pointed out during a phone interview, “to the extent that a lot more people have coverage, revenues are increasing” and providers (particularly hospitals) “could have more opportunities to cross subsidize” the cost of uncompensated care with their new insured customers.