Massachusetts Medical Society: Oppose harmful changes to the “Public Charge Rules” which could deter millions of legal immigrants from seeking health care

Oppose harmful changes to the “Public Charge Rules” which could deter millions of legal immigrants from seeking health care

The Trump Administration has published a proposed rule on the Federal Register to change the grounds for what’s called public charge, a test that immigrants have to pass when being admitted to the country. 

Under the proposal, for the first time, an immigrant’s use, or likely use, of benefits, including health care programs -such as Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare PART D low income subsidy or CHIP -  could be considered as part of the public charge test and used to deny immigration to the United states.

The MMS, AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, ACOG, AAFP, ACP, APA and other physician and health care groups are extremely concerned about this proposed rule change and have joined a national campaign to oppose it.   As physicians, we are concerned that families will not access necessary health care and food services – to which they are legally entitled – because their use of those programs will be used against them in the determination of final legal entry into the country. 

The Fiscal Policy institute estimates that the chilling effect of the public charge proposal would extend to 24 million people in the United States, including 9 million children who are seeking to become legal citizens. 

See MMS Comments in opposition here. Feel free to use these when submitting your own comments. A link to submit comments directly is below. 

Key points:

  • The families who will be most affected by the public charge proposal are the ones who are seeking to become legal U.S. residents, like families applying for green cards. As a result, these families will almost certainly avoid seeking services for which they are eligible, like health insurance and food assistance.
  • This chilling effect could jeopardize the health of millions of families, including families with U.S. citizen children in the household. 

More information about the public charge proposed rule and how to submit comments:

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