DHS reverses Trump-era 'public charge' immigration healthcare rule

The Biden administration issued a final rule that ensures noncitizens who get health benefits including Medicaid won’t be affected regarding their legal status. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the final rule Thursday that overturns the Trump-era “public charge” regulation. 

“People who qualify for Medicaid, CHIP and other health programs should receive the care they need without fear of jeopardizing their immigration status,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

The rule applies to any noncitizen who wants to enter the U.S. or apply for permanent residence like a “green card” from within the country. 

“When assessing whether a noncitizen is ‘likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence,’ DHS will not penalize individuals who choose to access the vast majority of health-related benefits,” according to a release on the rule. 

These benefits and services include Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 

The Trump administration released a rule in 2019 that enabled DHS to reject green cards or visa applications more easily if someone uses programs like Medicaid. Experts have previously warned that the rule would have a chilling effect on immigration healthcare. 

The Biden administration halted enforcing the public charge rule back in 2021.