Rule Will Undermine Health Care for Underserved Populations

Washington DC – The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved’s (ACU) core mission is to improve the health of people living in underserved communities, and to support those clinicians who serve them. As such, ACU strongly opposes the “public charge” rule published earlier this week by the Department of Homeland Security. The rule will force families to choose between accepting Medicaid benefits, which they are legally eligible to receive, or choose a path to citizenship at the expense of their own health and the health of their children. Without adequate insurance coverage, many of these individuals will not be able to access health care services that they are legally entitled to, but cannot afford. The rule abhorrently targets immigrant populations, but it will be devastating to underserved communities far beyond. We are also deeply concerned about the far-reaching impact on non-immigrant populations who refuse, or even delay, accepting public benefits such as Medicaid coverage out of fear. This rule, targeting some of our most underserved populations, will negatively affect the health, well-being, and safety of children and their families across the country.

In addition, the “public charge” rule will put pressure on the health care providers that care for these vulnerable populations. Without Medicaid coverage, the impact of this rule will be to increase the financial strain on those organizations that care for the immigrant population such as federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and critical access hospitals. We join our colleagues and partners across the country who provide care for underserved and immigrant populations in calling for the immediate repeal of this unjust rule.