Ending the Pandemic Threat: The Implications of Public Charge

As part of the the Council of Young Physicians, we are worried about the public health being endangered every day due to the "public charge" perception that has been hitting our community. We need to be united in these hard moments to improve health outcomes with commonsense policies that would benefit public health

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's warnings of the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inside the United States, the Department of Homeland Security began enforcing its new "public charge" rule in early March 2020. This new rule penalizes immigrants with legal status-seeking adjustment to their immigration status for the use of public services under the designation of a "public charge."

We identify five areas where the public charge rule and immigration and customs enforcement can directly impact public health concerns, and our communities' response recommends the following interventions to help the immigrant communities in response to the pandemic and beyond. We call for initiatives to 1) ensure access to publicly funded health insurance, 2) stop detainment of immigrants seeking healthcare, 3) eliminate the overcrowding in detention centers, 4) dismantle the "Remain in Mexico" program, 5) provide emergency funding for neighborhood clinics. 

Society has a vested public health interest, and the COVID-19 pandemic demands the immediate suspension of the public charge rule and alleviation of health care access barriers for immigrants to benefit the common good. This is no longer an immigration issue; it is a public health emergency. 

As a group of physicians, we want to start the conversation of health, wellness and how to improve the care of our communities that are being affected by Public Charge. 

For media inquiries and full article please contact Daniel José Correa, MD at daniel.correa@einsteinmed.org 

Authors

Daniel Turner-Lloveras1,2, MD; Daniel José Correa, MD, MSc3; Ricardo Correa, MD, Ed. D4; Ilan Shapiro, MD5Astrid H. AvedissianEsq 6Minerva Angelica Romero Arenas MD, MPH 7 

1 Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 

3 Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY daniel.correa@einsteinmed.org; 

4 Department of Medicine. University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and Phoenix VAMC. ricardocorrea@arizona.edu;  

5 AltaMed, Department of Health Education and Wellness, Los Angeles, CA ishapirostrygler@altamed.org 

6 Astrid H. Avedissian, Esq, Immigration Attorney, New York City, NY aavedissian@nyls.edu 

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, School of Medicine, Edinburg TX minerva.romeroarenas@utrgv.edu;  

Source: Council of Young Physicians

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Categories: Public Safety

Tags: ACP, change, community, healthcare, ICE, MPP, NHMA, pandemic, physicians, public charge, public health, USCIS