Implementation of Public Charge Restrictions
Harms Patients and Public Health
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow new “Public Charge” rules to take effect in the midst of legal challenges to this the radical policy change, is deeply concerning to physicians and other healthcare professionals on the frontlines of our nation’s HIV epidemic. The decision, allowing the immediate application of new criteria that will discourage immigrants seeking residency and citizenship in the United States from accessing essential services that include healthcare, runs counter to federal goals to increase access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment services. The new rule, which weighs use of some public services against eligibility for legal residency and citizenship, can now be implemented across the country except in Illinois where implementation is blocked by a statewide injunction.
Even before the rule has taken effect, the deterrence it presents to accessing healthcare services that are essential to individual well-being and critical to public health, have been noted, with HIV clinicians reporting declines in immigrant patients accessing HIV treatment and preventive services.
We urge the administration to reconsider the ramifications of restricting access to health care services and not implement this policy that undermines the health and lives of immigrant families and communities and our nation’s public health.