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Published: January 31, 2020

Detrimental "Public Charge" Rule Moving Forward

In a recent 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court voted to lift a nationwide injunction against a Trump Administration rule that would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive green cards or visas. Under the so-called “public charge” policy, some immigrants who lawfully access public benefits could face adverse consequences when applying to change their immigration status. The rule expands the number of federal and state programs (including Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits) used to determine whether a green card applicant can be deemed a "public charge,” and therefore likely to use safety net services. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would begin implementation of the new public charge rule on February 24, 2020. Importantly, those who received public benefits prior to February 24 will not be affected. CAFP and AAFP have repeatedly called for the Administration to rescind this rule because it threatens patient health, increases uncompensated care costs, and disrupts the physician-patient relationship. Additional lawsuits challenging the rule are still working their way through lower courts and could face Supreme Court scrutiny in the future. For more information on how you can help your practice and your patients through these changes, please visit CAFP’s Healthy Harbors webpage.

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