Mountain Family column: Public charge changes would make access to health care more difficult
Mountain Family Health
Mountain Family Health Centers cares deeply about the health of all families and communities, and we are committed to advocating for everyone’s right to access quality health care services. Mountain Family is running a comment campaign to address proposed changes to public charge regulations. Public charge is a term used to describe the use of public benefits like Medicaid, housing and food assistance by people who are immigrating to the United States.
The changes that are being proposed would make accessing health care and other benefits harder for our immigrant communities.
As of Nov. 2, over 35,000 comments have been submitted for review and response by the Department of Homeland Security. We are encouraging people to make a public comment regarding these changes to ensure our legislators understand how important diversity and cultural acceptance are to us. The deadline is Dec. 10.
There is a lot of misinformation and fear in the community regarding this issue, and Mountain Family wants to ensure we are sharing accurate information regarding these changes. Here is what we want you to know:
1. This is still just a proposal, and the law has not yet changed. Mountain Family and others will fight against the current proposal. You can join us in fighting against these changes.
2. This does not change the eligibility of you or your family for public programs, including health services. You are eligible to continue receiving your health services at Mountain Family.
3. If you need health care services now, you should still go to the doctor and enroll in health insurance like Medicaid.
4. Until this proposal becomes law, your past use of health care services will not be used against you. There is no need to stop using these programs now.
5. If you already have a green card, your use of government programs does not affect your application for citizenship.
If you would like to join the fight against changes to current public charge regulations, visit this website: https://www.regulations.gov/ comment?D=USCIS-2010-0012-0001. For more information on the proposed changes visit https://www.uscis.gov/legal- resources/proposed-change-public- charge-ground-inadmissibility.
Danyelle Rigli is advocacy coordinator for Mountain Family Health Centers.
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