News Release

New Brief Examines Potential Effects of Public Charge Changes on Health Coverage for Citizen Children 


The Trump Administration is pursuing changes that, for the first time, would allow the federal government to take into account the use of federal health, nutrition, and other non-cash public programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), when making a determination about whether someone is likely to be a “public charge.” Under these changes, use of these programs by an individual or a family member, including a citizen child, could result in an individual being denied lawful permanent resident status or entry into the U.S.

Such changes would apply to coverage provided to legal immigrants and their citizen children, likely leading to decreased participation in Medicaid, CHIP, Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage and other programs, even though they would remain eligible for them.

A new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an overview of the 10.4 million children in the U.S. with at least one non-citizen parent, a group that potentially would be affected by the changes. It presents different scenarios of disenrollment from Medicaid and CHIP to illustrate the potential effects on their health coverage and discusses the implications for their health and families’ financial stability.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.