Trump Proposal May Discourage Immigrants From Seeking Health Benefits

The Trump administration is considering a policy change that might discourage immigrants who are seeking permanent residency from using government-supported health care, a scenario that is alarming some doctors, hospitals and patient advocates.

Under the proposed plan, a lawful immigrant holding a visa could be passed over for getting permanent residency — a green card — if they use Medicaid, a subsidized Obamacare plan, food stamps, tax credits or a list of other non-cash government benefits, according to a draft of the plan published by The Washington Post. Even the use of such benefits by a child who is a US citizen could jeopardize a parent’s chances of attaining lawful residency, according to the document.

Health advocates say such a policy could frighten a far broader group of immigrants who will avoid government-supported health coverage, creating public health problems that could prove dire. About 3 million people received green cards from 2014 through 2016, government records show. Immigrants with visas or those who may have no legal status but plan to seek citizenship based on a close family relationship would be affected.

“We are very concerned that this rule, if finalized, would have a significant impact on health in this country,” said Erin O’Malley, senior director of policy for America’s Essential Hospitals, which discussed the plan with Trump administration officials in mid-April.

O’Malley said she fears that some visa holders and their families would steer clear of getting routine treatment and resort to going to emergency rooms for medical care. Such a change would “undermine the stability of our hospitals …read more

Via:: Truthout

      

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