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Public Charge Rule Threatens Lives and Public Health

The final “Public Charge” rule establishing new restrictions on immigrants’ eligibility to live and work legally in the United States based on their use of essential services will carry unintended and damaging consequences to individual and community health. By discouraging people who seek residency and citizenship from accessing the preventive measures, health care and treatment important to their well-being and to averting disease transmission, the rule will run counter to its stated aims, undermining the benefits of our nation’s social and health infrastructure.

The implications of this rule include the further marginalization of immigrants, which as an organization of infectious diseases and HIV specialists and medical providers, we already confront the impacts of daily. Introduced even as the administration seeks to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by reaching populations facing the greatest barriers to health services, the rule will reverse progress against HIV as well as other public health threats. Access to health care under Medicaid, to stable housing and to adequate nutrition is central to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and to keeping individuals, families and communities healthy.

The HIV Medicine Association submitted these concerns as the rule was being weighed. We will continue to urge measures that advance rather than undermine polices that improve the health of families and communities and our nation’s public health, while we urge Congress to take swift action to stop implementation of this damaging rule.


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