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Capitol Correspondence - 01.13.20

Courts Continue to Freeze Immigrant Health Insurance Mandate

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With roughly a quarter of the direct care workforce comprised of immigrants, employers and disability advocates alike have been concerned by the Administration’s planned effort to mandate that immigrants seeking to entry to the United States demonstrate the ability to obtain health insurance, excluding insurance offered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. As reported by Politico Pulse:

TRUMP’s INSURANCE MANDATE ON IMMIGRANTS MAY STAY FROZEN, FOR NOW — An appeals court panel on Thursday appeared skeptical of the Trump administration’s claim that halting the president’s insurance mandate on legal immigrants has caused irreparable harm to the United States, POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi reports.

A federal judge in Oregon blocked the mandate from taking effect nationwide in November, saying that the president’s proclamation — requiring legal immigrants to obtain health insurance or prove they could cover their health costs — could affect about 60 percent of all immigrant visa applicants. The Trump administration wants the 9th Circuit to lift the freeze while a legal fight on the underlying policy continues.

 One of the judges on the 9th Circuit panel, Marsha Berzon, a Bill Clinton appointee, criticized DOJ claims that uninsured immigrants load uncompensated care costs onto the U.S. health system, saying the amount of charity care immigrants consume is ‘something miniscule.’

But the panel’s Trump-appointed judge, Daniel Bress, questioned if a broad freeze on the policy was appropriate, because immigrants and their families who are challenging the mandate have yet to secure class action status, which would help justify a nationwide injunction, Susannah writes.”