Oct 4, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump admin wants to require immigrants to get health insurance

This image shows an armored truck that is facing a long border wall on a dry sandy hill

Security forces patrol the US-Mexico border on September 18, 2019. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday issued a proclamation requiring immigrant-visa applicants to prove they can obtain health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S. or cover their own health care expenses.

The big picture: A recent increase in the number of people without health insurance has coincided with the Trump administration discouraging immigrants from applying for and using government health care programs, like Medicaid.

Details: The plan, scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 3, stipulates that if migrants "possess the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs," they would be exempt from needing documented health insurance.

The impact: The proclamation is a "classic catch-22" for low-income immigrants, Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation told Politico.

  • "They will need health insurance to be in the country legally [and] the only way they may be able to afford coverage is with ACA subsidies," Levitt said. "But, if they buy insurance with ACA subsidies, it won't count as insurance under the proclamation."

Background: In August, the Department of Homeland Security published a rule to penalize immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefit programs such as food stamps, housing assistance or Medicaid.

  • Top 2020 Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg support providing health care for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Go deeper: Fear over Trump's immigration crackdown may be linked to rise in uninsured

Editor's note: This story's headline has been updated to clarify the Trump administration will require immigrants to get health insurance.

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