Late last week, federal judges in three states, including Washington, issued injunctions temporarily blocking the “public charge” rule. WSHA has adamantly advocated against the public charge rule since it was first proposed by the Department of Homeland Security, due to the negative impact it would have on access to care.
If implemented, the rule would use immigrants’ receipts and applications for Medicaid to deny them status in the United States on the basis that they are a “public charge” and too reliant on the government for subsistence. The rule could also possibly extend to targeting immigrants who have accessed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The rule would negatively impact hospitals and their ability to provide care to the communities they serve. Fearing impact to their immigration status, patients may disenroll or not apply for Medicaid and CHIP. The rule would also result in increased uninsured rates, triggering a rise in uncompensated care costs. This would have the potential to de-stabilize hospitals — particularly in more rural areas — and undermine the health of communities, broadly.
WSHA is celebrating that the court imposed a stay on the rule. It is a firm step in the right direction. However, the stay only provides temporary relief during the judicial proceedings. Every person in every community deserves access to health care. WSHA staff will continue advocate on behalf of that goal, monitor this issue and provide guidance to our members should it go into effect.
The complete comment WSHA filed in opposition to the rule is available online.