Earlier this year, the administration published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would make it much harder for immigrants to obtain visas (including visas to study or work in the U.S.), extend their visas, or adjust their status to become lawful permanent residents. It would hold an immigrant’s receipt of crucial public non-cash benefits, including Medicaid, Section 8, and other social programs, as part of the public charge determination process. This rule is likely to worsen health outcomes for children with asthma and increase healthcare spending. Over the two month comment period, over 200,000 comments were submitted to the federal government, the vast majority of which opposed this harmful proposed rule.
Members of the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition submitted joint comments drafted from a childhood asthma stakeholder perspective, expressing deep concerns about the potential effects of this rule on children with asthma. Linking public benefits to immigration status deters legitimate uses of needed services and could create a chilling effect on families forgoing care and benefits to which they are legally entitled. By threatening access to health care for noncitizen children, and potentially reducing access to comprehensive asthma management services, the demonstrated health and economic benefits of having comprehensive health insurance that we have seen could decline. We anticipate that the proposed changes would not only worsen health outcomes for children with asthma, but increase health care spending.