The New York Times has an article about work by researchers at Harvard Medical School, which concluded that immigrants are a net plus for the finances of Medicare – even though most of the immigrants in the current wave have low incomes.
Of course those immigrants are on average young, and don’t get sick much. What about costs over the entire life cycle, which is of course what you would look at if you were trying to get the right answer? Well, judging from current trends, those young workers are pretty likely to get older as time passes. Since they have low incomes, but age and die just as expensively as anyone else, they’re not likely to be a net financial plus for Medicare. Or so it would seem.
We can’t go around accusing Ivy League types of lying. Perhaps they have different models of the future. For example, if we came to have self-replicating perfect autodocs that work on wall current, people wouldn’t age any more, and medical expenses would be a trivial fraction of GNP. This is sure to happen eventually – you can reduce entropy with enthalpy. Maybe the world will end before these guys get old – either through a cleansing asteroid strike, alien conquest, or a robot takeover. Or, maybe they intend to shoot these workers when they slow down, presumably charging the relatives for the bullet. It’s been known to happen.
I think we need to understand more about their assumptions, in order to make better policy decisions. Maybe they know something I don’t.