The Final Public Charge Admissibility Rule: Implications for Massachusetts

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Rachel Gershon, JD, MPH
Commonwealth Medicine

The federal “public charge” rule makes it more difficult for non-citizens who are enrolled in public benefit programs such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to obtain a “green card” and become lawful U.S. residents. Experts say this chilling effect will cause individuals to disenroll from public benefit programs and delay treatment for potentially serious health issues and diseases—including COVID-19, which may exacerbate the spread of the pandemic. Immigration officials say COVID-19 testing will not negatively affect someone’s immigration status. Still, out of fear and caution, non-citizens and their family members are avoiding health care providers. This report provides a closer look at the “public charge” rule and how it is impacting non-citizens and the Massachusetts health care system. Co-authors include Commonwealth Medicine Health Law & Policy expert Rachel Gershon, JD, MPH, Senior Associate.