Can Vt. afford health insurance for undocumented immigrants? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Can Vt. afford health insurance for undocumented immigrants?

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Vermont officials overseeing the state's transition to a single-payer health care system say providing health insurance to undocumented immigrants would not likely cost taxpayers much money.

Lawmakers asked the Green Mountain Care Board to examine the costs of coverage for people who are here illegally. But officials say it's difficult to nail down a price tag because there are no firm numbers of how many undocumented people live in Vermont. It's estimated to be between 1,500 and 3,000.

"But we did learn, I think, enough kind of useful facts about the demographics of the population and some rough ideas about the size of the population to be able to present some useful info to the Legislature," said Mike Donofrio of the Green Mountain Care Board.

A University of Vermont survey found undocumented workers use health services sparingly. More than half of respondents cited fear of immigration enforcement as the main reason for not seeking care, followed by language barriers and transportation. And the report found because most are young adult males who say they feel healthy, coverage costs would likely be low.

Lawmakers have not yet decided if they will cover undocumented people.

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