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Santa Clara Family Health Plan’s Response to the Public Charge Final Rule

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Santa Clara Family Health Plan’s Response to the Public Charge Final Rule

August 21, 2019

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published their final rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, which is an assault on vulnerable immigrant families in our community. The final rule widens the scope of benefits that will now be considered in the determination of an individual’s immigration status. Under the new rule, legal immigrants applying for lawful permanent residency will now be deemed a “public charge” if they used SNAP/CalFresh food benefits, housing assistance, or non-emergency Medicaid, barring them from legally immigrating to the United States.

Santa Clara Family Health Plan (SCFHP) recognizes the fear and burden the changes to “public charge” cause many of our members and their families, and the impact these proposed changes will have on the health of our community. According to UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research, 58,000 Santa Clara County residents will potentially be affected by the “chilling effect” created due to the misinformation, confusion and fear surrounding the final rule. We strongly encourage our members and community to reach out to our local safety net organizations to understand and secure your rights before disenrolling from public benefits.

SCFHP was founded more than 20 years ago with a vision of building a healthier Santa Clara County. The change to “public charge” stands in direct opposition to our mission of providing access to high quality, comprehensive health care for our neighbors, including immigrant families targeted by this change. We continue to advocate for access to safety net services that help Santa Clara County residents work towards stability. We are proud to support Santa Clara County’s fight against this discriminatory rule.

The “public charge” final rule is scheduled to take effect October 15, 2019 and will only apply to benefits used after the effective date.

Download California Health and Human Services Agency's Public Charge Guide 

Resources Available for Immigrant Families: Public Charge Information and Resources   

General Information on Public Charge and Health Care: http://www.itup.org/public-charge-health-care-in-california/

Information on Chilling Effect: Proposed Changes to Immigration Rules Could Cost California Jobs, Harm Public Health, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, December 2018