Unfortunately, new data reveals that a growing percentage of American children lack adequate health insurance coverage. On September 10th, 2019, The Washington Post reported on the latest survey from the United States Census Bureau — which found that the percentage of Americans under the age of 19 without health insurance coverage increased from 5 percent to 5.5 percent.
The Increase is Driven Largely By Immigrant Children
Digging deeper into the data, it becomes clear that the increase in the number of children without adequate health insurance coverage was driven largely by non-citizen immigrant children — particularly immigrant children from low-income backgrounds. In 2017, the Census Bureau assessed that 15.6 percent of non-citizen immigrant children were uninsured. In just one year, that number increased dramatically, up to 18.3 percent.
In other words, nearly one in five non-citizen immigrant children in the United States do not have basic health insurance coverage. The increase is no accident: It comes at the same time that the Trump Administration is attempting to enact the so-called ‘Public Charge’ rule — disincentivizing and then punishing immigrants from claiming basic social benefits, including health insurance coverage.
How President Trump’s Public Charge Rule is Harming Immigrants
In 2018, the Trump Administration first began discussing its plan to reform the public charge rule to punish immigrants for using basic social services. The rule — which has now been unveiled but has still not officially gone into effect — allows the United States government to deny applicants green cards on the grounds that they will “likely” use non-cash social services, including Medicaid.
As soon as reports of the new public charge rule were released, many immigrant rights advocates stated their worries that even the mere threat of this rule would push immigrants off of basic social services. Sadly, the new data from the Census Bureau goes a long way in confirming that these fears were well-founded.
Even before the public charge rule was published in the Federal Register, there had already been a 17 percent increase in the number of non-citizen immigrant children without health insurance. This is a huge problem, and it is not limited to health coverage. A study released late last year found that a significant number of immigrants were dropping out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Too many immigrant families with children are being pushed into insecure financial positions.
We Support Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, California
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are strong and skilled advocates for immigrants and their loved ones. If you need immigration support, our team is ready to help. To set up a completely private consultation, please call us today at 213-262-2000. We handle immigration law matters throughout Los Angeles County, including in La Mirada, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Burbank, Long Beach, Glendale, Whittier, Pomona, Culver City, and Malibu.