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CAPH Submits Public Charge Comments

Highlighting How the Public Charge Rule Would Impact our Ability to Care for Immigrant Communities

In October, the Trump Administration proposed formal changes to the Public Charge Rule, which is used to assess whether lawful immigrants could be a “burden” to society based on the use of public benefits, which impacts their ability to become legal permanent residents. The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH), along with organizations across the country, has formally submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security opposing these harmful new requirements.

Under the proposed rule, immigrants and their families who are legally entitled to receive public benefits could face adverse consequences when applying to change their immigration status. The proposed rule expands the definition of “public charge” to include public benefits such as non-emergency Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California), housing subsidies, food assistance (SNAP or CalFresh in California), and help for low-income seniors to afford prescription drugs.

We are deeply concerned with the expansion of “public charge” to include Medi-Cal and other public benefits. As core safety net providers of health care services in California, we are committed to ensuring that all individuals have timely access to affordable, high-quality health care services. By including Medicaid, as well as other basic social services, we are concerned the proposed rule could jeopardize the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding individuals, increase the number of uninsured in our communities, which would harm public health care systems’ ability to effectively serve our patients, and result in greater financial losses to our systems.

Read our full comment letter for more information.