Health insurance – new burden on legal immigrants?
Trump´s health insurance proclamation stopped by nation-wide injunction
According to President Trump, many immigrants in the US cannot pay for their healthcare, and become a financial burden . The President issued a proclamation in October 2019 concerning health insurance. This proclamation tops the public charge rule for green cards, that Trump’s administration issued earlier this summer, and which was blocked by federal judges. This new healthcare proclamation is also blocked in court.
The Proclamation states that immigrants must prove they will obtain health insurance within 30 days upon arrival in the US, which is a short time given the complexity of US health insurance system. The Proclamation prevents visa seekers obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Studies suggest that the Proclamation would block nearly two thirds of immigrants who have otherwise done everything correctly and legally under law.
The Proclamation came without warning or consultations with key stakeholders and was very likely to create chaos in implementation. As expected, it was immediately challenged in court . Lawyers from Justice Action Center, Innovation Law Lab, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association argued that “This new requirement rewrites our immigration and health care laws,” and could effectively bar up to 375,000 “otherwise qualified immigrants each year.”
In his ruling from November 2nd, Judge Michael Simon of the Federal District Court in Portland, Oregon put a temporary restraining order on the proclamation. The court opined that Trump offered “no national security or foreign relations justification for this sweeping change in immigration law”. Essentially, any change in longstanding rules must be justified and discussed. Abrupt changes that override existing rules are considered to be arbitrary and capricious.
The restraining order was followed by a recent nation-wide injunction. The health insurance Proclamation will not be applied until litigation is resolved. Approximately, 25,000 visas were issued in November 2019 that would have been denied under Trump´s Proclamation.