3. When Will The Policy Shift Take Effect?
This is an early step in the complex federal rule-making process. And a lot could still change.
Once the proposed rule appears in the Federal Register, a 60-day countdown starts, during which anyone can weigh in with comments.
A final rule likely wouldn’t take effect until 2019.
And DHS is still seeking input on some details. For instance, it hasn’t decided whether CHIP would be counted as one of the “public charge” eligible programs.
In the interim, people who had received public benefits before the rule took effect would not be penalized for doing so.
4. Already, Though, The Proposal Is Having Effects.
DHS estimates that 2.5 percent of eligible immigrants would drop out of public benefits programs because of this change — which would tally about $1.5 billion worth of federal money per year. But others expect a much larger impact.
“The chilling effects will be vastly greater than the individuals directly affected,” Greenberg said. “There’s considerable reason to believe that [the White House estimate] may be a significant understatement.”
In the proposed rule, DHS notes that the changes could result in “worse health outcomes,” “increased use of emergency rooms,” “increased prevalence of communicable diseases,” “increased rates of poverty” and other concerns.
Given the complexity of these programs and the proposed rule — and the high stakes at play — low-income immigrants would be much more likely to avoid public benefits altogether, immigration experts said. Millions of immigrants are likely to be affected directly or indirectly, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy, a D.C.-based nonprofit organization.
That could have stark health implications.
Take free vaccines, for which children are often eligible and which would not be subject to the public charge rule. Families afraid of jeopardizing a green card could still be more likely to opt out of that service, Whitener said.
Already, she added, there are reports of people declining federal assistance — even though nothing has yet happened.
“The fear factor cannot be underestimated,” she said.
5. Will People Sue?
Legal action is likely.
Officials such as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has frequently clashed with the White House, are weighing challenges to the rule.
“The Trump Administration’s proposal punishes hard-working immigrant families — even targeting children who are citizens — for utilizing programs that provide basic nutrition and healthcare. This is an assault on our families and our communities,” Becerra said in a statement.
But these actions depend on the final shape of the regulation, which could change through the rule-making process.
“They are likely to receive a very large number of sharply critical comments, and there is no way to know what changes they might make as a result,” Greenberg said.
KHN’s coverage of children’s health care issues is supported in part by the Heising-Simons Foundation.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
0.00 (0%) 0 votes