The Trump administration plans to require immigrants to show evidence they can pay their own medical bills faced a setback on Nov. 2.
Oregon District Judge Michael Simon has approved a temporary restraining order that will delay the administration from enacting a new rule that immigrants must prove they either have health insurance or the financial means to cover health care expenses as part of the visa application process.
The order means a proclamation signed by Donald Trump back in October cannot take effect as planned on Nov. 3. The rule only applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad and does not apply to children, refugees, asylum-seekers, and lawful permanent residents in the United States according to The Associated Press.
Acceptable insurance policies can be bought individually or provided by an employer. The policy can have either short-term or catastrophic coverage.
Medicaid is not accepted and policies cannot be purchased through claiming subsidies under the federally funded Affordable Care Act.
Any immigrant, who cannot produce evidence of health insurance or financial means to pay for health care within 30 days of entering, will be barred from entering the country.
The judge granted the order after multiple individuals and nonprofit organizations launched a legal challenge. The plaintiffs claim requiring immigrants to buy health insurance or prove they can pay for medical treatment would disqualify nearly two-thirds of all potential and legal immigrants.
However, the White House strongly opposed the order, calling it a “nationwide injunction” that aims to “thwart” the president’s policy judgment.
“[This is] a matter where Congress expressly gave the president authority,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the president determined would best protect the United States health care system—and for the U.S. taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the immense strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission.”
Regardless of the rule, more immigrants appear to be buying private health insurance.
The Migration Policy Institute found 57% of U.S. immigrants had private health insurance in the year 2017, compared to 69% of U.S.-born citizens. Thirty percent of immigrants had public health insurance coverage, compared to 36 percent of native born citizens according to the Associated Press.
Since the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2010, the rate of uninsured immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% between the years 2013 and 2017 according to the institute.
Each year about 1.1 million people obtain green cards, which allow foreigners to legally live and work in the United States.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration tried to introduce major changes to regulations that deny green cards to immigrants who use certain forms of public assistance. The courts have also blocked that measure.