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Biden's Border Crisis Will Vastly Increase the Number of Uninsured

There will be a number of unintended consequences as a result of President Joe Biden’s open-border policies. One of them will be a dramatic rise in the number of people without health insurance.
The number of uninsured was about 27.6 million in 2022. But with millions of undocumented immigrants entering the country—and no end in sight—they will vastly increase the number of uninsured, likely putting new strains on the health care system.
Census Bureau surveys of the uninsured do not consider immigration status. That’s why I use the phrase “the number of uninsured” rather than “uninsured Americans.” Estimates of the uninsured include everyone residing in the country whether legally or not.
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for government health insurance programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), or Obamacare subsidies. Most have little or no income, and it can take months or years to receive a work permit, if ever. Thus, they have few options to work in the regular economy, and very few if any purchase their own coverage.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “As of 2021, there were 44.7 million immigrants residing in the U.S., including 20.8 million noncitizen immigrants and 23.9 million naturalized citizens.” Kaiser includes undocumented immigrants in its “noncitizen” category. Some of those undocumented immigrants may be eligible for coverage through, say, a documented family member with employer coverage. But most remain uninsured.
Enter the Biden border crisis.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports 2.7 million encounters with migrants in 2022 and 2.8 million encounters through last August. And that doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who avoided or evaded an encounter with CBP. So, we could easily be looking at 5 million to 6 million newly uninsured people in the country in the last two years.
In years past, those crossing the southern border were mostly younger, single men, often working in labor-intensive jobs—and so were generally healthy and needed little or no medical care.
CBP reports an increasing percentage of the recent migrants are families with children. Children and young mothers do need medical care. And since under federal law hospitals must treat uninsured individuals who show up at the emergency room, regardless of ability to pay, most of those increased health care costs will fall on the states or county public health systems.
As the number of uninsured rises, we will likely see progressive Democrats claim the existing health care system is failing and it is time for a government-run system that covers everyone. Ironically, it is their open-border policies that are creating the additional strain.