Public Charge: What Is It & How Changes Might Impact Clinics

This live event occurred on 05/09/18; to receive a copy of the recording, please continue registering below and a link will be automatically emailed.

CPCA and Association for Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) health center members are immensely troubled by the recent proposed expansion of the meaning of "public charge." Public charge is a term used in immigration law to describe an individual who is dependent on the government for material and financial support. A person who is deemed likely to become a public charge is generally ineligible to be admitted to the U.S. or to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card). 

On March 29, the Washington Post released a leaked version of a proposed regulation that would make unprecedented changes to long-standing policy around public charge:

  • It would significantly broaden the scope of the benefits that could be considered in the public charge analysis to include non-cash benefits, including Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and housing assistance programs. Under this leaked version of the rules, the Trump administration would consider virtually all means-tested benefits in the public charge determination.
  • It attempts to expand the definition of "public charge" from being primarily dependent on cash assistance or government-funded, long-term care to simply applying for or receiving one or more public benefits.
  • It would significantly expand the definition of "dependents" to include any individual who lives with and "benefits from but does not contribute to" the immigrant's financial resources, and count a dependent's receipt of benefits as a negative factor in the public charge assessment.

If the leaked proposal were implemented as drafted, these changes could deny immigrants permanent residency if they, their families, and children (even those born in the U.S.) enroll in Medicaid, CHIP, subsidies within the health exchange, WIC, and other health and nutrition programs. The chilling effect will drive entire families away from enrolling in programs that help them stay healthy and pay for medical care at community health centers, even if they are eligible for programs. This will cause many immigrants to avoid seeking needed healthcare until their condition deteriorates, which could increase avoidable emergency room visits. We strongly believe that any change to the public charge rule will discourage many immigrants and migrant workers from accessing healthcare services.

This 90-minute webinar will provide an overview of the leaked draft of the public charge regulations, and opportunities to voice our concerns before any changes are finalized. Additionally, you'll hear how one health center is advocating and learn best practices to mobilize patients and their community around the issue.  Lastly, you'll hear about the National Health Center Immigration Workgroup, which will be co-led by CPCA and AAPCHO in coordination with NACHC. We hope that through this workgroup we can help create and align the health center voice around immigrant issues, including public charge. 


  • Gain a better understanding of the leaked proposal around public charge and how these changes could impact health centers and patients.
  • Learn from other health centers how to best prepare PCAs and clinics to submit public comments against the proposed public charge rule.
  • Acquire knowledge about the National Health Center Immigrant Workgroup and how to join.

  • Jeffrey Caballero, Executive Director, Association for Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
  • Carmela Castellano-Garcia, CEO, California Primary Care Association
  • Gabrielle Lessard, Senior Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
  • Asian Health Services

  • All State PCAs and health centers

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Disclaimer: The information on this session is intended only to provide a general overview of the topics addressed.  This session is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the guidance, counsel or advice of legal counsel on any matters particular to a specific primary care clinic. CPCA does not endorse companies or products. Advertising and sponsorship revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. 

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5/9/2018 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
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