Statement: Children’s Health Fund Opposes Punitive Public Charge Final Rule

As an organization committed to ensuring access to high quality healthcare for ALL children in America, Children’s Health Fund strongly opposes the public charge final rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The final rule is yet another example of this administration’s intent to change the war on poverty to a war on the poor.

Recent studies estimate that nearly 1 million children, including children living in immigrant families, have already been disenrolled from public health insurance programs. Children in immigrant families are amongst the most vulnerable populations in the United States; they comprise the largest remaining cohort of children lacking health insurance coverage and are among our nation’s poorest. By deterring parents from seeking, enrolling, and maintaining critical participation of children in programs that support their health and well-being, the measure has the potential to negatively impact millions more and threatens to erode hard-won accomplishments in promoting children’s health.

The public charge final rule directly targets healthcare programs and will negatively impact the health and wellbeing of millions of children in America, including citizen children living in mixed-status families. If this final rule is enacted, those who are most vulnerable will, unconscionably, be forced to make decisions that could further undermine the already tenuous access immigrant families have to the medical and nutrition resources their children need for healthy development and to reach their full potential.

Children’s Health Fund strongly opposes the public charge rule and recommends that DHS revoke the rule or risk the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our society. If DHS fails to withdraw the rule, we urge Congress to take immediate action to block funding for the implementation of the rule before further damage is done.

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