Judge blocks Trump rule requiring prospective immigrants have health insurance

Henrietta Brewer
November 4, 2019

Last month, several courts blocked the administration from implementing another sweeping policy, known as the "public charge" rule, that would allow officials to deny green cards and temporary visas to immigrants in the USA and overseas who use - or are likely to use - certain public benefits like food stamps and government housing programs.

Judge Simon's 28-day temporary restraining order will prevent the rule from coming into effect on 3 November, but the legal battle is likely to continue.

"VICTORY! A federal judge in Portland halted the Trump admin's latest attack on immigrants - a health care ban that would block 2/3 of all visa applicants", the group tweeted Sunday afternoon.

A Trump administration order requiring immigrants to prove that they have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they are issued visas was blocked by a federal judge Saturday.

Esther Sung, a senior litigator for the Justice Action Center who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs, said the administration's rule would also separate immigrant families. According to an estimate by the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, the new requirements could bar up to 375,000 prospective legal immigrants from moving to the USA each year. Exempt are asylum-seekers, refugees and non-citizen children of USA citizens. The rule only applies to people seeking immigrant visas from overseas and does not apply to children, refugees, asylum-seekers, and lawful permanent residents in the United States according to The Associated Press.

Under the government's visa rule, the required insurance can be bought individually or provided by an employer and it can be short-term coverage or catastrophic. Thirty percent of immigrants had public health insurance coverage, compared to 36 percent of native born citizens according to the Associated Press.

Under the rule, an immigrant can not get a visa if they are covered by subsidies from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as those are paid for by the federal government.

"It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the President determined would best protect the United States healthcare system - and for the United States taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the vast strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission". They have also cited a George Washington University study which learned that recent immigrants without insurance made up less than 0.1 percent of American medical fees in 2017.

There are about 1.1 million people who obtain green cards each year.

Other reports by iNewsToday