Public Charge

This has been a long time coming...via the HHS Dept. (by email, no link yet):

New Rule Makes Clear that Noncitizens Who Receive Health or Other Benefits to which they are Entitled Will Not Suffer Harmful Immigration Consequences

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule applicable to noncitizens who receive or wish to apply for benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and States that support low-income families and adults. The rule, which details how DHS will interpret the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, will help ensure that noncitizens can access health-related benefits and other supplemental government services to which they are entitled by law, without triggering harmful immigration consequences. By codifying in regulation the “totality of the circumstances” approach that is authorized by statute and which has long been utilized by DHS, the rule makes it clear that individual factors, such as a person’s disability or use of benefits alone will not lead to a public charge determination.

One more reminder from the New York State of Health ACA exchange:

Press Release: NY State of Health Urges New Yorkers: Don’t Miss this Opportunity to Enroll in Health Coverage!

  • Open Enrollment Ends February 7
  • Thousands of Free, In-Person Assistors Available to Help Consumers

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 5, 2020) – NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, is encouraging New Yorkers who need health coverage to enroll in a 2020 Qualified Health Plan (QHP) by this Friday, February 7. The Open Enrollment deadline was extended an additional week to give consumers more time to find the health plan that fits their needs and enroll in coverage for 2020. Already, enrollment through NY State of Health is at its highest point ever, with more than 4.8 million New Yorkers enrolled in a health plan.

New York State of Health is doing their best to calm people down as much as possible:

Fact Sheet:: What you Need to Know About the New Federal Public Charge Rule and Health Insurance

Updated 1/29/20

When does the new Public Charge rule go into effect?

  • The Supreme Court decided on January 27, 2020, to allow the rule to take effect.

Does enrolling in free or low-cost health insurance make me a Public Charge?

  • Most health insurance coverage is not a factor in the new Public Charge test. Only federally-funded Medicaid is included, and even for this program there are several exempt groups of people who are excluded under the rule, including pregnant women and children under 21. Additionally, asylees, refugees, and visa holders who are victims of trafficking and other crimes, among others, are entirely exempt from the Public Charge rule.

The following programs are not included in the Public Charge rule:

(I have no idea who created this image...I'll give credit if someone can point me towards the artist)

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I don't seem to have written much about the Trump Administration's repulsive proposed "public charge" policy over the past year or so. Here's a general overview from last fall via Nicole Narea of Vox:

The US has been able to reject prospective immigrants who are likely to become a “public charge” — dependent on the government for support — since 1882, but since World War II, few immigrants were turned away using that criteria. In 1999, the Clinton administration issued guidance that said only cash benefits, which very few immigrants use, would be considered in making the determination.