Posted on November 4, 2019

Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Health-Care Requirement for New Immigrants

Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2019

A federal court has blocked the Trump administration from implementing a policy that would require new immigrants to demonstrate they have health care or are able to afford it.

The order, issued Saturday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Oregon, temporarily bars the administration from applying the new policy for 28 days. Another hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22.


In his brief order, Judge Simon, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said he believed the White House policy is likely unlawful and that the way it was issued ran afoul of procedures regarding public comment and other requirements the government must follow to enact new rules.


When it issued the policy last month, the Trump administration said the move would safeguard the health-care system for Americans by preventing immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid or going to emergency rooms without insurance.


Under the new policy, immigrants entering the country using either route would need to demonstrate their financial ability to purchase health care before receiving permission to move to the U.S.

The State Department issued a plan for implementing the policy on Oct. 29—days before it was set to take effect—and gave the public two days to comment rather than the usual one to three months.

One analysis of the policy’s impact, by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, found that it would have blocked up to 65% of immigrants who have moved to the U.S. in recent years—preventing about 375,000 people a year from resettling in the U.S.


The Trump administration separately repealed a mandate that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty—one of the least popular elements of the ACA—in its tax overhaul passed in late 2017.