The Biden administration’s “public charge” policy, which helps protect health care access in immigrant communities, is under attack in the courts.
The policy, which details how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) interprets the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, helps ensure that immigrants can access health care and other supplemental government services to which they are entitled by law, without triggering harmful immigration consequences. It replaced a Trump-era regulation that made sweeping and radical changes to longstanding public charge policy—the impact of which was very harmful to patients.
Without this critical policy, immigrant communities will lack access to immunization against communicable disease; treatable conditions will go undetected; and illnesses will be allowed to progress without medical attention and treatment. In fact, evidence shows that the Trump administration’s mere consideration of its “public charge” policy was enough to chill eligible families from enrolling their kids in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—leading to the largest annual jump in the number of uninsured children in over a decade.
Texas filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s policy in 2023.
A coalition of public health advocacy organizations urge the court to reject efforts to gut health care access for immigrants.
In this lawsuit, Texas v. Mayorkas, we represented a coalition of leading public health advocacy organizations including the American Cancer Society Action Network and the American Lung Association in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Court to consider the potential ramifications for our nation’s public health before taking action that might disrupt Medicaid access for populations that already face significant barriers accessing health care services.
In the brief, the coalition provides the court with evidence and information regarding enrollment in Medicaid and the correlation between access and the use of preventive health services. Increased enrollment in Medicaid leads to increased use of preventive health services, which in turn lowers health care costs and improves public health. Further, the brief details how eliminating barriers to Medicaid enrollment—as the Biden administration’s “public charge” policy does—reduces socioeconomic inequities and promotes financial stability, including for immigrant communities where many are not offered health care coverage through their employer.
The full list of amici include American Cancer Society; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Lung Association; CancerCare; Epilepsy Foundation; Hemophilia Federation of America; Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Muscular Dystrophy Association; National Multiple Sclerosis Society; National Patient Advocate Foundation; and Susan G. Komen.