Statement From Healthfirst on Trump Administration Public Charge Rule

Aug 14, 2019

The following statement can be attributed to Pat Wang, President and Chief Executive Officer, Healthfirst, in response to the Trump administration’s Public Charge regulation that is set to take effect, October 15, 2019. The regulation changes the way the government considers legal immigrants’ use of certain public programs like Medicaid and food stamps when attempting to secure residency or a path to citizenship.

With nearly 1.4M members, Healthfirst is proud of its mission to ensure that all New Yorkers receive top notch healthcare to keep themselves and their communities healthy. Healthcare is not welfare. The new Public Charge regulations will damage the health of the entire population by restricting healthcare for the legal immigrants with whom we live and work. While the rule will take effect in the future, and while it does not apply to children and pregnant women, we have already witnessed a far greater impact because of the confusion and fear caused by these expansive new policies. Many of the legal immigrants we serve have already started to go without health insurance for themselves and their children because they are afraid of harm to their immigration status, a trend that will accelerate now that the rule has been finalized. Making people choose between their families’ health and their pathway to citizenship will be detrimental to the entire nation.

We will continue to stand by our members and their families and their right to healthcare. We will work to provide important education around their health coverage options and work side-by-side with community-based organizations to provide them the information they need. Our community offices in New York City and on Long Island are open and ready to connect our members with resources that can help.
We encourage anyone who has questions about how these new rules may impact them or their loved ones to get free, safe immigration legal help in the community through Action NYC. Call 311 and say, 'public charge.'
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