Judge blocks Trump rule requiring prospective immigrants have health insurance

File photo of undocumented immigrants being released from detention through ‘catch and release’ immigration policy stand at a bus station in Texas, US, April 11, 2018. — Reuters pic
File photo of undocumented immigrants being released from detention through ‘catch and release’ immigration policy stand at a bus station in Texas, US, April 11, 2018. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, Nov 3 — A federal judge in Oregon today temporarily blocked a Trump administration proclamation that would have required prospective immigrants to prove they would have U.S. health insurance within 30 days of their arrival or enough money to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

Judge Michael Simon in US District Court in Portland, Oregon, granted a 28-day temporary restraining order that prevents the rule from taking effect on November 3. The legal challenge against it will continue.

Seven US citizens and an advocacy organization filed a lawsuit to block the rule, arguing it “rewrites our immigration and healthcare laws by Presidential fiat” and could bar hundreds of thousands of prospective immigrants.

The proclamation is blocked while the legal challenge against it continues.
Prospective immigrants had been scrambling to figure out how to get the necessary coverage, navigating a complex healthcare bureaucracy that has, for the most part, not previously catered to those who are not yet in the country.

The Trump proclamation said it aims to stop healthcare providers and taxpayers from bearing “substantial costs in paying for medical expenses incurred by people who lack health insurance or the ability to pay for their healthcare.” It cited data that “lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance.”

Healthcare policy experts say immigrants use the US system less often than Americans. According to an analysis by Leighton Ku, director of the Centre for Health Policy Research at George Washington University, recent immigrants without insurance accounted for less than one-tenth of 1 per cent of US medical expenditures in 2017. — Reuters

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