WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized a new rule that will deter use of vital services for some immigrant populations.

Fourteen patient groups released the following statement in response to this rule being finalized:

"Our organizations represent millions of patients and consumers, including many who have immigrated to the United States, who face serious, acute, and chronic health conditions. Together, we have a unique perspective on what individuals and families living in the United States need to prevent disease, cure illness, have healthy pregnancies, and manage chronic health conditions including disability. We have grave concerns about the long term impacts this rule will have on the health and well-being of individuals and communities we represent.

"This rule directs DHS to broadly expand the public charge evaluation—which aims to determine whether an individual is likely to become dependent on the government for subsistence—to include critical safety-net programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Section 8 housing assistance programs for which many immigrants are currently eligible and rely upon. This policy will not only penalize immigrants for using public benefits for which they legally qualify, it will likely have a chilling effect for immigrant communities across all public programs, resulting in fewer people seeking out the support services they and their U.S. citizen family members need and for which they qualify. A recent survey demonstrated that the debate over this issue has already led one in seven adults in immigrant families to forgo public benefits for which they or their children were eligible, including Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program. Penalizing and stigmatizing use of these programs could seriously jeopardize the health and well-being of legal immigrants and their U.S. citizen children, spouses, and relatives.

"We are united in our strong opposition to this rule, given the negative impact it is likely to have on the health and wellbeing of the people we represent."

American Heart Association American Liver Foundation American Lung Association Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Family Voices Hemophilia Federation of America Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Lutheran Services in America March of Dimes National Hemophilia Foundation National Multiple Sclerosis Society National Patient Advocate Foundation Susan G. Komen WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

For media inquiries please contact: Suniti Sarah Bal: 916-390-1860; suniti.bal@heart.org

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

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