Capitol Correspondence - 11.03.19

Courts Temporarily Halt POTUS’ Order to Tie Immigration and Health Care Access

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Courts have stopped President Trump’s recent order to tie visas to enter the United States with health care coverage. The President’s plan has caused concerns among disability advocates and employers in the field of health care because of its potential effects on immigrants with disabilities and on the workforce shortage occuring in health services.

As reported by Politico Pro:

“A federal judge in Oregon has slapped a temporary restraining order on the Trump administration’s new plan to bar legal immigrants who, when seeking entry, can’t prove they’ll have health coverage or can pay their own medical expenses.

Officials were supposed to start implementing the policy today but U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon granted a 28-day delay as he weighs a preliminary injunction.

His 11th hour intervention paused last week’s scrambled overhaul of the rules, spurred by an Oct. 4 presidential proclamation where President Donald Trump said immigrants need to shoulder all their own health care expenses.

The State Department didn’t disclose how it would implement the policy until Oct. 30, when an emergency notice was issued with a 48-hour comment period. It said officers would start asking immigrants about health coverage, and would not suspend entry to those able to pay for ‘reasonably foreseeable’ costs.

A new immigrant advocacy group called Justice Action Center and seven individuals filed an initial lawsuit when the emergency notice came out, warning that “unless this Court acts, the affirmative immigrant visa system will largely cease to function.” On Friday, they petitioned for a restraining order.

In response, the judge summoned attorneys to his courtroom on Saturday and granted the delay by early evening – hours before the policy was to start at midnight. He stated that the plaintiffs had raised serious questions about the possible ‘arbitrary and capricious’ nature of the president’s order.

The order requires immigrants to show proof of insurance through the employer or individual market — or with a year-long short-term limited duration health plan — or the means to pay out-of-pocket. They are not eligible for subsidies in the ACA individual market.”