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Capitol Correspondence - 10.28.19

Democratic Senators Question President’s Executive Order Tying Immigration with Health Insurance

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ANCOR has been monitoring the President’s order to require immigrants to the U.S. to demonstrate the capacity to purchase health insurance because it could affect immigrants with disabilities and the staff who support them. Roughly a quarter of the direct care workforce is comprised of immigrants due to a shortage of domestic workers that is compounding a workforce crisis.

As reported by Politico Pulse:

Senate Democrats press for answers on immigration-health care order. The ranking members of the Senate HELP and Finance Committees are asking HHS for more detail on President Donald Trump’s order, set to take effect on Nov. 3, which would deny visas to immigrants who are unable to pay for their health care.

“This new action adopts the worst of the Trump administration’s health care and immigration policies,” Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote on Tuesday to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Coupled with the public charge rule…the president’s policies reflect a clear intent to burden the health care and immigration systems with unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and high costs.”

The two senators say they want answers on how HHS advised on the new order, how it will be implemented and whether HHS analyzed the impact.

— Trump appointees have publicly distanced HHS from the order, saying that it’s not part of the health department’s agenda.

CMS Administrator Verma on Oct. 9 declined to answer whether CMS had analyzed the order’s effect on insurance enrollment, directing POLITICO to instead ask the State Department. A State Department spokesperson said the agency had “nothing further” to add.

Inside CMS, some insurance-market officials have worried that the order is unworkable and illegal.”