Kitty Pilgrim baselessly suggested that nearly all undocumented immigrants are uninsured, study found otherwise

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On CNN's Lou Dobbs This Week, Kitty Pilgrim baselessly suggested that nearly all undocumented immigrants in the United States are uninsured, asserting that "there are an estimated 47 million people in this country who don't have health insurance," and that "illegal aliens likely make up 40 percent of the uninsured in this country." For Pilgrim's assertion to be true, 18.8 million undocumented immigrants would have to be uninsured, but the National Institute for Health Care Management has estimated that there are 5.6 million uninsured undocumented immigrants.

During the July 27 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs This Week, host Kitty Pilgrim baselessly suggested that all or nearly all undocumented immigrants in the United States are uninsured. Pilgrim asserted, "[T]here are an estimated 47 million people in this country who don't have health insurance. And as we have reported here for years, there are an estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in the United States, and that means illegal aliens likely make up 40 percent of the uninsured in this country." Pilgrim did not cite any evidence for her assertion; for it to be true, 18.8 million undocumented immigrants would have to be uninsured. However, as the blog Progress Illinois noted, the National Institute for Health Care Management has estimated that there are 5.6 million undocumented immigrants in this country who are uninsured, not 18.8 million. That number is equal to approximately 12 percent of the uninsured in this country, not 40 percent.

In estimating the number of undocumented immigrants without health insurance, the National Institute for Health Care Management, which describes itself as "a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that conducts research on health care issues," stated:

As explained in more detail in the Methods Overview at the back of this paper, the estimates presented throughout this paper rely on data as reported by the Census Bureau. These reported data indicate that there are 10 million non-citizens among the 46.5 non-elderly uninsured. Because the CPS [Current Population Survey] does not collect information on legal status among non-citizens, both legal and undocumented immigrants are included in the 10 million.

Earlier research has incorporated data from numerous government sources to develop a model for assigning legal status to each immigrant found in the CPS data. Legal immigrants include refugees, legal permanent residents (e.g., green card holders), and legal temporary residents (i.e., those in the country legally for a specified period and purpose). This model was subsequently applied to 2004 data from the CPS to estimate legal status among uninsured non-citizens. Applying this analysis to the 2007 CPS, we estimate that 5.6 million of the 10 million uninsured non-citizens are undocumented immigrants, whereas 4.4 million are legal residents.

From the July 27 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs This Week:

PILGRIM: As Lisa [Sylvester, CNN correspondent] reported, there are an estimated 47 million people in this country who don't have health insurance. And as we have reported here for years, there are 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in the United States, and that means illegal aliens likely make up 40 percent of the uninsured in this country.

Posted In
Economy, Health Care, Immigration
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Kitty Pilgrim
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs This Week
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