U.S. judge blocks Trump's health insurance rule for immigrants

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AP Local residents with visas walk across the Puerta Mexico international bridge to enter the U.S. in Matamoros Tamaulipas state Mexico

A federal judge in OR has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from requiring immigrants seeking visas to demonstrate healthcare coverage.

Judge Michael Simon, an Obama appointee to the federal bench, said Mr. Trump's October 4 directive likely exceeds the boundaries of immigration law.

Under the rule, an immigrant can not get a visa if they are covered by subsidies from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as those are paid for by the federal government.

In addition to finding the thrust of the proclamation against the law, he also said the insurance standards the president set out are probably unworkable. According to an estimate by the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, the new requirements could bar up to 375,000 prospective legal immigrants from moving to the USA each year.

The federal lawsuit was filed in Portland, Oregon, and claims the healthcare requirement prevents foreign family members of Americans from moving to the United States to be with their families. It does not apply to asylum-seekers, refugees or children.

The Trump administration argues that legal immigrants are three times more likely to be lack of health insurance than U.S. citizens, and taxpayers should not be responsible for medical expenses.

'We're very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately, ' said Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at Saturday's hearing on behalf of the plaintiffs. "The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped".

The OPB quoted an official of the Innovation Law Lab saying that about 65 percent of immigrants who apply for entry into the United States through its long-standing family-based immigration system would be shut out of the country if the rule is enforced.

The rule is the Trump administration's latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programs while trying to move the country away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. "Today's decision highlights the urgency of blocking this health care ban before it causes irreparable damage to our community and those we serve". They have also cited a George Washington University study which learned that recent immigrants without insurance made up less than 0.1 percent of American medical fees in 2017.

The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy.

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