Health

Judge blocks Trump rule requiring prospective immigrants have health insurance

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Esther Sung, a senior litigator at the Justice Action Center and one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs at Saturday's hearing, told reporters after the ruling that "we're very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately".

The number of immigrants entering the United States on a family visa will drop significantly or be completely eliminated.

An Oregon federal judge temporarily blocked a USA administration rule that would have demanded from would-be-immigrants to prove they would apply for health insurance of the United States within 30 days upon their arrival or have enough money to pay for "reasonably foreseeable medical costs".

They argue that this will prevent thousands of legal immigrants.

Judge Michael Simon, a district judge in OR, granted a preliminary injunction against the proposal.

President Donald Trump issued the proclamation in October, saying, "immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs".

Regardless of the rule, more immigrants appear to be buying private health insurance. It does not apply to asylum-seekers, refugees or children.

The Trump administration has argued that legal immigrants were about three times more likely to lack health insurance than U.S. citizens, and that taxpayers should not bear their medical costs. "It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the president determined would best protect the United States health care system-and for the USA taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the vast strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission".

The rule is the Trump administration's latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programs while trying to move the country away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.

"[This is] a matter where Congress expressly gave the president authority", White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

Accepted health insurance includes employer-sponsored and family coverage plans, unsubsidized individual health plans, and short-term plans. According to an estimate by the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, the new requirements could bar up to 375,000 prospective legal immigrants from moving to the USA each year. Medicaid or Affordable Care Act subsidies do not qualify as "approved health insurance" under the proclamation.

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