Thousands Of Californians Could Be Pushed Off Government Assistance Programs Under Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Policy
The proposed policy would expand the definition of public charge to include legal immigrants who use safety net programs such as Medicaid or food aid. The rule changes haven’t been approved yet, but already agencies that administer public programs are reporting a sharp rise in people dropping out.
The California Health Report:
Researchers Warn That "Public Charge" Rule Changes Would Lead To Hardship, Economic Losses In California
The Trump administration’s proposed changes to public charge rules for deciding immigration cases could push thousands of Californians out of government assistance programs and result in billions of dollars of losses to the state’s economy, according to a forthcoming analysis from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Under the changes the federal government proposed in October, legal immigrants applying for permanent residency could be denied if they’ve received certain public health care, food or housing benefits. In California, these benefits include Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income residents; housing assistance such as Section 8 vouchers; and CalFresh, the state’s name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. Even though the rule changes would affect a relatively narrow group of people, experts predict hundreds of thousands more Californians could drop out of government programs because of confusion and fear. This so-called chilling effect would disproportionately affect children and Latinos, increasing poverty, hunger and poor health in communities across the state, researchers said. (Boyd-Barrett, 11/8)