Debate continues on illegal immigrant health costs

In the year 2000, American taxpayers paid $1.1 billion in healthcare costs for illegal immigrants between the ages of 18 and 64, according to new, hotly-contested research by the Rand Corporation. That's about $11 per U.S. household. The study found that almost 22 percent of illegals have health insurance, which covered about $362 million in costs, and that the immigrants themselves paid another $321 million in out-of-pocket expenses. It's worth noting that Rand's study only included costs for adults in 65 Los Angeles County neighborhoods. Still, a Rand economist who worked on the study defends the research, and contends that the resulting $1 billion price tag is far too low to support the level of public concern. Not surprisingly, immigration watchdog groups vigorously challenge Rand's numbers. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, for its part, argues that Rand undershot the real costs tremendously, with total illegal immigrant healthcare expenses actually hitting $1.4 billion in California alone.

To learn more about these estimates:
- read this piece in the Los Angeles Times