Controversial ‘Public Charge’ Proposed Rule Draws Comments from State Officials, Orgs

Dec 10, 2018

A controversial proposed rule submitted on October 10 by the Trump administration – via draft regulation changes under the Department of Homeland Security –  sought to amend “public charge” policies that determine how the use of public benefits impact a person’s ability to obtain legal permanent resident status in the US.

The local impact of this proposed change was summarized in a policy brief from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Across the country, organizations and public officials criticized the rule for its damaging impact on immigrants, children, older adults, caregivers and direct care workers.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in her agency’s comments that the rule would result in fewer people receiving health care coverage, long-term harm to public health of all residents as a result of declines in preventive care like vaccines, increased reliance on hospital emergency rooms, greater uncompensated care costs for hospitals, increased food insecurity, homelessness and family separation among immigrant families, higher health insurance premiums for all Massachusetts residents, and “a real risk that our immigrant population may begin to view all of government with distrust as a consequence of what will inevitably be received as punitive and highly discretionary eligibility determinations made under the new rule.”

Comments on the rule were due on December 10th and below is a sample of comments submitted by Massachusetts’ public officials and national elder advocacy organizations.