Published: Mon, November 04, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Judge blocks Trump rule requiring prospective immigrants have health insurance

Judge blocks Trump rule requiring prospective immigrants have health insurance

Other factors behind the rule was Trump's promise to limit the great influx of immigrants by using a merit-based system.

President Donald Trump signed the proclamation in October for the rule that pertains to people who are already overseas and seeking visas, and not those who are already in the country.

US District Judge Michael Simon issued a 28-day restraining order during a rare Saturday session in his courtroom in Portland, Oregon, according to a copy of the decision seen by AFP.

Jesse Bless, the director of federal litigation for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the federal judge's ruling Saturday prevented "irreparable harm".

The October proclamation required that prospective immigrants demonstrate they could obtain health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the United States - a demand that immigration and health experts said would be particularly onerous for low-income immigrants who may not be coming to the United States for a job that provided health insurance or who may be unable to pay for foreseeable medical costs.

'The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped'.

The Trump administration has argued that legal immigrants are about three times more likely to lack health insurance than United States citizens, and that taxpayers should not bear their medical costs.

"We're very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately", Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung said. Exempt are asylum-seekers, refugees and non-citizen children of US citizens.

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Under the rule change, those applying for immigrant visas from overseas would be required to prove they will have health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the U.S., or that they have enough financial resource to pay for their own unforeseen medical costs before being granted a visa. The lawsuit furthermore states the Trump rule could potentially eliminate or reduce the amount of immigrants with family-sponsored visas.

Under the rule, insurance can be short-term coverage or catastrophic, and it can be purchased individually or provided by an employer.

This policy is part of Mr. Trump's efforts to move the United States out of the family-centred immigration system.

Medicaid is not accepted and policies can not be purchased through claiming subsidies under the federally funded Affordable Care Act.

"It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the President determined would best protect the United States healthcare system - and for the United States taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the enormous strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission". The federal government pays for those subsidies.

A study from George Washington University found that in 2017, uninsured new immigrants were less than one-tenth of the USA medical expenses of 1%.

The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy.

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