The consequences of such a rule would be far reaching, and a new opinion piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine takes a closer look at the potential public health impact. The authors note that the rule would likely result in lower rates of health insurance coverage, reduce enrollment in public benefits, and result in lower rates of health utilization. The authors write: We believe that the draft public-charge regulation represents a substantial threat to lawfully present immigrants’ access to public programs and health care services…[If this rule takes effect], it will most likely harm the health of millions of people and undo decades of work by providers nationwide to increase access to medical care for immigrants and their families.
Under a proposed federal rule, immigrants seeking admission to the U.S. or applying for lawful permanent residency could be denied if family members, including U.S. citizen children, receive public benefits for which they are eligible. This proposed “public charge” rule would allow DHS/USCIS to consider an extremely broad array of services and benefits, including the EITC.