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Administration Ramps Up Scrutiny of Immigrants’ Use of Public Benefits

Immigrants’ sponsors could be more likely to be held financially responsible for the cost of public benefits those immigrants receive under a new memorandum issued by the White House.

The requirement itself is not new; the purpose of the memorandum is to encourage federal agencies to enforce existing laws that state that, according to the memorandum,

…when an alien applies for certain means-tested public benefits, the financial resources of the alien’s sponsor must be counted as part of the alien’s financial resources in determining both eligibility for the benefits and the amount of benefits that may be awarded.  Financial sponsors who pledge to financially support the sponsored alien in the event the alien applies for or receives public benefits will be expected to fulfill their commitment under law.

Among the means-tested public benefits programs at which this new directive is aimed are Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

While the law already requires agencies to enforce immigrants sponsors’ legal financial responsibilities, the White House memorandum notes that it is not being enforced and directs the federal agencies involved to review and update their enforcement procedures.

Enforcement of this directive could result in fewer people applying for and being found eligible to receive Medicaid. If this occurs, it could be especially harmful to many private safety-net hospitals that serve large immigrant communities, potentially leaving them unpaid for care they provide to such patients.

Learn more from the administration’s “Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens.”

NAUH Urges Senators to Vote “No” on Better Care Reconciliation Act

Citing provisions that would leave an additional 22 million people uninsured by 2026 and reduce federal investment in Medicaid-covered health care approximately $772 billion over the next decade, the National Association of Urban Hospitals has asked members of the Senate to vote “no” on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

In a message to senators, NAUH noted that the bill fails to restore Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts that were used to finance the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and that it would limit states’ ability to use provider taxes to finance their Medicaid programs.

NAUH also observed that the manner in which the bill would limit future growth in federal Medicaid spending could force states to reduce Medicaid eligibility, benefits, and payments to providers.

See NAUH’s message to senators about the Better Care Reconciliation Act here.