August 15, 2019

Opposing rule to threaten care access for legal immigrants

Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson statement opposing the public charge rule and the changes that prevent care access for legal immigrants.

Kaiser Permanente unequivocally opposes the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s rule to expand the definition of public charge, which will prevent legal immigrants and their families from accessing health care and coverage and other health-promoting public benefits.

Beyond simply being the wrong policy, this opens the door to poorer health outcomes and runs contrary to our values. While pregnant women and children receiving Medicaid were exempted in the final rule, research shows that the fear and confusion that this type of regulation will stoke in immigrant communities, in addition to the barriers it directly raises, are sure to have far-reaching implications — from missed early cancer diagnoses to reduced medication adherence for treatable conditions — that will cause unnecessary suffering in families.

This policy will not only penalize immigrants for using health care benefits for which they legally qualify, it will also likely have a major impact on immigrant communities across many public programs such as food stamps and housing assistance, resulting in fewer people seeking out the care and support they and their family members need.

This rule contradicts our nation’s traditional values and is in direct opposition to Kaiser Permanente’s mission — we will continue to voice our opposition to it. Kaiser Permanente is committed to increasing the number of people who receive high-quality, affordable care and coverage and this rule will do the opposite. We strongly believe everyone deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of good health, which includes having access to the care and services needed for total health.