An estimate of 8.3 million children are at risk to lose their health insurance under Trump’s proposed changes in the public charge rule, the latest study reveals.
Under the said proposal, the government will be penalizing immigrants for using public benefits while applying for a green card or seeking to enter the United States on certain visas. This would require immigration officers to evaluate whether an applicant had received benefits from public programs, such as Medicaid, food aid, public housing, and even the Medicare drug subsidy for low-income seniors.
The new rule also includes that even if immigrants were to not use any public benefit, the government could still decide whether their situations suggest that they are likely to do so “at any time in the future” and reject them from the United States.
The said study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concluded that the proposed rule “violates human rights,” as it would put 8.3 million children currently receiving health insurance at risk. These include 615,842 children with asthma, 583,700 with disabilities, 53,728 with epilepsy, and 3,658 with cancer.
“Our main concerns are not economic but ethical. We believe that denial of needed health care and nutrition to anyone, but particularly to children, violates human rights. We call on the medical community to speak out against this unjust and unethical proposal to change the public charge rule,” the researchers wrote.
In an interview with CNN, Dr. Leah Zallman, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical school and the first author of the study, explained: “What we know from other studies is that because there are so much fear and confusion about this particular rule that many people are disenrolling from these benefits even when the rule doesn’t apply to them.”