Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that could limit legal immigrants’ future immigration status, such as ability to get a green card or become a citizen, based on their receipt of public benefits. The rule would expand the types of programs that can contribute to a “public charge” determination to include Medicaid and the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, among other programs. When making immigration determinations, the government considers whether someone can support themselves financially or if they are at risk for becoming a public charge – that is, primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.
CHA issued a statement with concerns for the proposed rule:
“In recent years, Colorado has made great strides in improving coverage and access to care for all Coloradans,” Steven J. Summer, CHA president and CEO, said. “With a record low uninsured rate, we are beginning to see the system work as it should – with people accessing preventive and primary care and not just relying on the hospital emergency department for care when medical conditions become emergent. Anything that sets us back from that progress – which we believe this proposal has the potential to do – should be reconsidered.”