(NEXSTAR) — The Trump administration said immigrants will not be able to come to the United States unless they can prove they won’t be a burden on the U.S. healthcare system.
Trump said taxpayers end up footing the bill when medical bills don’t get paid and the administration hopes the new rule will prevent immigrants from adding to the problem.
People hoping to legally immigrate to the United States will have to prove they can cover their own healthcare costs without government help.
Hans Von Spakovsky with the Heritage Foundation said the Trump administration’s new rule simply expands on existing law.
“Congress has put this into the law more than 100 years ago,” said Von Spakovsky. “That they didn’t want to bring immigrants who are going to become a public charge. And by that, they mean as soon as they get in, they’re starting to draw welfare benefits.”
The White House said the new rule requiring proof of healthcare coverage for immigrants is necessary because unpaid healthcare costs have exceeded $35 billion a year for the last decade.
Critics said while the Republicans eliminated the individual mandate of Obamacare, this rule essentially brings it back but only for immigrants. They claim the administration is implementing another wealth test on immigrants.
The rule change has exemptions, including for refugees and asylum seekers but Charnya Krishnaswami with Amnesty International think it’s just another attempt by Trump to keep out low-income immigrants and only admit the wealthy.
“Because those sorts of publicly-subsidized exchanges — Medicaid, Medicare, subsidized insurance under the ACA — those folks would not qualify under the terms of the ban,” Krishnaswami said. “So we’re looking at potentially two-thirds of immigrants in the future who could be affected by a ban of this size.”