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Public Charge Rule Threatens Immigrants’ Health, Access to Care


Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals

WASHINGTON — The administration’s final rule on the public charge definition worsens the chilling effect that threatens the health of millions of people by making it more likely they forgo care for themselves and their families to avoid putting their legal immigration status at risk.

This rule also threatens the stability of essential hospitals, which will sustain higher uncompensated costs as immigrants put off care and seek treatment later, only as a last resort, when they’re sicker and more costly to treat. In turn, this will drive higher costs for taxpayers and the entire health care system.

We find this action wholly unnecessary, especially considering it offers no benefit beyond existing law, which already bars undocumented immigrants from Medicaid and other public assistance programs and requires legal residents to wait five years before enrolling in Medicaid and Medicare.

Consistent with their mission and legal requirements, essential hospitals provide high-quality care for immigrant populations and other vulnerable people. This rule jeopardizes their ability to do that and undermines access to vital health care services for all people and communities.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at

Carl Graziano


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