LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A Rand Corp. study finds that the amount of federal, state and local tax money spent providing healthcare for illegal immigrants in the United States is small.
The total public spending on healthcare for undocumented aliens between the ages of 18 and 64 comes to $1.1 billion, or about $11 in taxes per U.S. household. Total government spending on healthcare for all adults in the same age group comes to $88 billion.
Researchers say that illegal immigrants tend to be healthier than the general population. Their estimates were based on a survey of households in Los Angeles that found large percentages of illegal immigrants had never visited a doctor or had a checkup.
James Smith, an expert in labor market and demographic studies and one of the authors of the report, said that debate on the influx of undocumented aliens is looking at the wrong issues.
"Costs will be much higher for educating the children of undocumented immigrants, so that's where debate should center, not on these relatively small healthcare costs," Smith said.
The study was published in the journal Health Affairs.