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Proposed Public Charge Rule Threatens Vital Safety Net Programs

Member news | Monday, December 10, 2018

At Santa Clara Family Health Plan (SCFHP), we are aware of the fear and burden the proposed "public charge" rule is causing many of our members, their families and our community.

The proposed changes, officially published on October 10, 2018 by the Trump administration, will widen the current set of public benefits used to deem an individual a "public charge." Under existing policy, "public charge" means someone who is primarily dependent on government assistance such as CalWORKS, federal cash assistance, or institutionalized at government expense. The proposed "public charge" changes will now factor in access to services such as non-emergency Medi-Cal, SNAP/CalFresh food benefits, and housing assistance.

The impact of these proposed changes is amplified by the economic realities of Silicon Valley. Families within our diverse community will be forced to choose between vital health, housing, and food assistance or a path to citizenship. The downstream effects of this unjust policy change will be felt broadly as the prevalence of illness, homelessness, and hunger grows.

SCFHP was founded in 1997 with a vision of building a healthier Santa Clara County. Twenty years later we continue working to provide access to high quality, comprehensive health care to our neighbors, including immigrant families targeted by this proposed change. SCFHP is proud to advocate for continued access to safety net services that help our members work towards stability. We oppose the proposed regulatory changes to the public charge rule.

The proposed changes are not yet in effect and are not final. We encourage our members to continue to seek regular medical care and continue using the resources our county is proud to offer.

For more information regarding the "Public Charge" Rule visit:
Santa Clara County FAQs
California Health Care Foundation Resources