‘Public Charge’ Rule Change Raises Concern

We know there is concern about a proposed rule change that would make it harder for immigrants to obtain visas or green cards if they have used or might use certain types of public assistance. We are reviewing the proposal and intend to make a formal comment.

The proposal would broaden the definition of a “public charge.” A public charge is an applicant considered not economically self-sufficient and a potential burden on the government.

The released rule differs from a draft that was leaked earlier by not including Advanced Premium Tax Credit among the assistance programs that could negatively impact immigration status. However, the proposal would add Medicaid, food stamps and housing subsidies to the list and we recognize the challenge the discussion is already bringing to our work and the work of many of our partners.

We will be discussing the proposed changes at our Oct. 8 board meeting. In the meantime, we have put together this memo for our board. Kaiser Health News has provided this high-level information.

As we get a better understanding, we will provide resources for our Brokers, our Community Based Assistance network, county eligibility workers and other partner organizations.

In the News

It’s becoming a trend among western states. Nevada was first and now New Mexico is moving to become a full state-based health insurance marketplace, like Colorado. Until now, the two states have operated on federal technology, but they have concluded that they can save money and achieve better flexibility operating on their own. Inside Health Policy had the story this week.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia operate fully state-based marketplaces, 11 states operate in various level of federal partnership, and the rest rely on entirely on the federal marketplace.

Take care,

Kevin Patterson, MURP, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Connect for Health Colorado