By Associated Press
Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2019
Immigrants applying for U.S. visas will be denied entry into the country unless they can prove they can afford healthcare, according to a proclamation signed Friday by President Trump.
The new rule applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad — not those in the U.S. already. It does not affect lawful permanent residents. It does not apply to asylum seekers, refugees or children.
But it would apply to the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens. That could have an impact on families who are trying to bring their parents to the U.S.
The proclamation says immigrants will be barred from entering the country unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs. The measure will be effective Nov. 3.
The Trump administration is trying to move away from a family-based immigration system and into a merit-based system, and Friday’s proclamation is another effort to limit immigrant access to public programs.
“This new attempt at an immigration ban is as shameless as it is stunning,” tweeted Doug Rand, a former Obama administration official who is a cofounder of Boundless Immigration. “It will be chaotic to implement and guaranteed to separate U.S. citizens from their legal immigrant spouses and other close relatives.”
Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System
Issued October 4, 2019
Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. (a) The entry into the United States as immigrants of aliens who will financially burden the United States healthcare system is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation. An alien will financially burden the United States healthcare system unless the alien will be covered by approved health insurance, as defined in subsection (b) of this section, within 30 days of the alien’s entry into the United States, or unless the alien possesses the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
This Presidential Proclamation requiring that immigrants have health insurance or the ability to pay will have a negative impact, especially on families that are trying to reunite within the United States. It is perplexing that President Trump believes that immigrants should have health insurance with the penalty of being denied reunification with their families for failing to meet that requirement, yet he, with the complicity of a Republican Congress, has removed the penalty for the failure of U.S. residents to have health insurance.
Is this proclamation about ensuring that physicians and hospitals be paid when they provide health care services to immigrants? If that is their concern, then why do they reject that assurance when the patients are U.S. residents, even though coverage is required by law (ACA)? Far greater numbers remain uninsured due to waiving the ACA penalty than would be uninsured as a result of being recent immigrants, especially since many of them would have insurance through their work or through the employment of family members.
No, this is not about being concerned over payment to health care professionals and institutions. Rather it is merely another barrier for immigration, and not a very effective one at that.
If the administration was really concerned about financing our health care system, you would think that they would adopt policies that would ensure that occurred. Under the single payer model of Medicare for All, payment would be made automatically for all health care services rendered throughout the nation, including for immigrants who, as a group, contribute significantly to the productivity of our economy.
Reuniting families is not a problem that needs a solution; just reunite them. Financing health care is. President Trump needs to fire immigrant-basher Stephen Miller and sit down with people who can explain health care financing to him. He says that it is complicated, but we can make it simple for him: Everybody in, nobody out.
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