California Medical Association and Governor Newsom issue responses to President Trump’s public charge rule

The California Medical Association (CMA) and Governor Newsom issued separate press releases this week regarding the Trump Administration’s new public charge rule. The  rule  links a person’s immigration status to their income and use of certain public programs. It also expands the term “public charge,” which, historically, has meant a person who is dependent on government assistance, vaguely defined.

The new rule identifies several specific subsidies in its definition of public charge. The goal of the rule is to make it easier to deny green cards to lower income legal immigrants. Receiving one or more public benefits, including food stamps, Medicaid, or housing subsidies, will be considered in determining whether or not citizenship is granted.


Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.


Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, said of the rule:

“We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet. A poor person can prepare to be self-sufficient… so let’s not look at that as the be all end all.”

Governor Newsom released this response to the rule:

“This is a reckless policy that targets the health and well-being of immigrant families and communities of color, with widespread implications for our state’s health care, housing and affordability. We are actively reviewing the details to determine next steps, but for now, I remind immigrant families to empower themselves with qualified legal advice to understand whether the rule could affect them.

“Our state will always stand solidly behind all Californians regardless of their immigration status.”

In a statement by CMA’s President, David H Aizuss said,

“This new rule hurts our most vulnerable residents and will be a major setback for public health in California and the nation as a whole. This is another effort by the Administration in Washington to target immigrant families – including those who are here legally – for political gain. CMA will aggressively challenge any efforts to take health care away from California residents and will continue to work with state leaders to stand up to misguided public policies that will harm California families.”

The rule will be published in tomorrow’s federal register. It will go into effect 60 days later.