L.A. Care Health Plan applauds the recent ruling by a Federal District Court Judge in Illinois that blocks the new Public Charge Rule, which allows the government to deny permanent residency, also known as a green card, to legal immigrants who officials believe are likely to use public benefits.
The new rule, which took effect in February of this year, penalizes lawful immigrants for simply accessing essential services like Medicaid, SNAP food benefits, and housing assistance – benefits they had previously been able to access without any risk to future efforts to become a permanent resident. This is especially unacceptable during a pandemic.
L.A. Care was quick to take a stand against the change to the Public Charge rule when it was proposed in October of 2018. The new rule adversely affects the health of lawful immigrants, and creates a chilling effect among those permanent residents who remain eligible for public benefits due to the fear and uncertainty the rule created. L.A. Care estimates that more than 170,000* of our members would have been impacted by the new rule.
L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for Los Angeles County's vulnerable and low-income communities and residents, and that includes immigrants who could be harmed by the new rule.
Of course, the fight is not over. The decision is likely to be appealed. L.A. Care will continue to stand against any measure that attempts to deny health and social services those who need them.
---John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO
*Estimate based on publicly-available data. L.A. Care does not have access to members’ immigration status.
Updated November 5, 2020
Unfortunately, one day after the federal district court vacated the new public charge rule, a federal appeals court reinstated the rule while the appeals process proceeds. The restrictions are once again in place. L.A. Care will continue to speak out against this rule and will support efforts to ensure vulnerable communities are able to secure much-needed resources.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.