In 2009 alone, the researchers found "immigrants made 14.7 percent of Trust Fund contributions but accounted for only 7.9 percent of its expenditures—a net surplus of $13.8 billion." Those born in the U.S. generated a $30.9 deficit in 2009. Over the seven-year period covered in the study, immigrants pumped a surplus of $115.2 billion into the Medicare Trust Fund.
Most of the surplus from immigrants was contributed by noncitizens and was a result of the high proportion of working-age taxpayers in this group. Policies that restrict immigration may deplete Medicare’s financial resources. [emphasis added]Of course, for opponents of both immigration and Medicare, weakening Medicare could be a desired outcome. But there's no question that, at least as far as Medicare is concerned, immigrants are net contributors. It's a matter of age demographics, primarily. While immigrations and U.S. born individuals paid in roughly the same amount in contributions, the immigrant population is younger and is drawing far less out in benefits. That will be true for a couple of decades to come, as the baby boomers retire and draw heavily from the system. That's probably true of Social Security, as well, the researchers conclude.
Policies that reduce immigration would almost certainly weaken Medicare’s financial health, while an increasing flow of immigrants might bolster its sustainability. Because Social Security’s eligibility criteria and payroll tax–based funding closely track those of Medicare, our findings support the argument that immigration helps sustain Social Security. [...]Here's one more benefit to the economy from comprehensive immigration reform. It's good for the deficit, too. With the immigration debate heating up, it's a chance for Republicans to show just how much they really care about the deficit. (Spoiler alert: They don't.)
Encouraging a steady flow of young immigrants would help offset the aging of the US population and the health care financing challenge that it presents.