TPS and TAOG Speak Out Against Public Charge Rule

The Texas Pediatric Society and Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Speak Out Against Public Charge Rule

The Texas Pediatric Society and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists once again join together to express our opposition to the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulation released this week. Our two organizations representing more than 8,000 Texas physicians submitted comments in opposition to the rule in late 2018 (see attached below) and continue to be troubled by the impact this policy will have on nearly 1 in 4 Texas children who live in a household with at least one immigrant family member. The rule overturns decades-long immigration policy by forcing individuals pursuing lawful immigration to make an impossible choice – to utilize perfectly legal public benefits for you and your family such as health care or food stamps, but risk losing the ability to move forward in the immigration process and remain legally with your family. Importantly, though this rule does not directly penalize an immigrant when their U.S. citizen child enrolls in Medicaid, the mere fact that the family income qualifies the child for that coverage is held against the parent seeking a green card, even though 2 out of every 5 Texas children are enrolled in Medicaid. No one should be forced into this cruel, impossible dilemma while trying to better themselves.

The rule further jeopardizes the health of millions of hard working Texans. With fear of jeopardizing their immigration status, countless families will avoid utilizing health care services that keep them healthy and productive members of society. In fact, we have already seen the impact of this policy when it was first proposed as children and their families have begun skipping well child visits where pediatricians provide lifesaving preventive care such as immunizations and mental health screenings. Our children’s health has been and will continue to be jeopardized the longer this “public charge” rule remains in effect.