8.3 million children could lose insurance under Trump immigration proposal, study suggests

Morgan Haefner - Print  | 

About 8.3 million children on government health insurance programs could lose their coverage under an immigration rule proposed by the Trump administration, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics

Under the proposed rule, announced in October 2018, more immigrants would likely be classified as a "public charge" and denied legal permanent residence or entry into the U.S. The proposed policy would lead many immigrant parents to remove their children from safety-net programs like Medicaid, researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Boston expect. Disenrollment would occur largely out of fear or confusion with the rule, even among families to whom the rule does not apply. 

To measure the potential effect this expected disenrollment would have on Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program members, the study authors completed a cross-section study of data representing 4,007 children who participated in the 2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The analysis was conducted from January to April.

Researchers found of the 8.3 million children projected to possibly lose coverage under the regulation, 5.5 million have a potentially serious medical diagnosis like asthma, cancer or epilepsy. The study authors estimated between 800,000 and 1.9 million children with medical needs could be disenrolled from their health and nutrition benefits by their parents.

"The proposed public charge rule would likely cause millions of children to lose health and nutrition benefits, including many children with specific medical needs that, if left untreated, may contribute to child deaths and future disability," the researchers concluded.

For the full study, click here.

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