US President Donald Trump on October 4 signed a proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who do not have the means to pay for their healthcare costs themselves.
They also will not be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States, according to Reuters.
The new rule, which comes into force on 3 November, will be applied to people seeking immigrant visas, not those in the US already. It does not apply to those seeking asylum seekers, refugees or children, the White House said.
But it would apply to the spouses and parents of US citizens. That could have an impact on families who are trying to bring their parents to the US.
President Trump has made cutting legal and illegal immigration a centerpiece of his presidency. The Trump administration said last month that it planned to allow only 18,000 refugees to resettle in the United States in the 2020 fiscal year, the lowest number in the history of the modern refugee program.
“While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States Government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their healthcare costs,” Trump said in the proclamation.
He said the suspension applied only to people seeking to enter the United States with an immigrant visa.
The document listed the types of insurance considered approved, such as employer-sponsored plans and the Medicare program for the elderly.
But it said for people over the age of 18, coverage under the Medicaid program for the poor is not approved.
“While lawful immigrants qualify for ACA subsidies, they’ll be stuck in a catch-22 because subsidized coverage does not qualify as insurance under the proclamation,” tweeted Larry Leavitt, executive vice president for health policy at Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care policy thinktank.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration thinktank, 57% of US immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, compared with 69% of US-born, and 30% had public health insurance coverage, compared with 36% of US-born.
The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32%t to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy Institute.
There are about 1.1 million people who obtain green cards each year./.