Senate Letter Challenging Trump “Junk” Insurance Mandate Applauded

October 23, 2019

Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375

Senate Letter Challenging Trump “Junk” Insurance Mandate Applauded

WASHINGTON — United States Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), ranking Democrats on key Senate committees with jurisdiction over health care, today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar challenging a proclamation requiring that immigrant visa applicants overseas obtain health insurance, but barring them from purchasing health coverage for which they qualify under U.S. law.

The proclamation, issued by the White House on October 4, “punishes middle- and low-income immigrants by going after health care benefits they are legally entitled to obtain,” the senators wrote. Adding that “the President’s proclamation is a direct attack on those who are most vulnerable, and on the health care system itself.”

As the senators noted, the proclamation is aligned with the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulation, which was blocked by federal courts earlier this month. That regulation would threaten the health of nearly 26 million people nationwide, according to independent estimates.

Responding to the senators’ letters, the National Immigration Law Center released the following statement by its senior policy attorney for advocacy, Sonya Schwartz:

“Senator Murray and Senator Wyden took action today to protect the nation’s health and our health care system. Like the public charge regulation and other bricks in Trump’s ‘invisible wall,’ this proclamation puts people’s health at risk to send a message that if you’re not white or wealthy, you’re not welcome here. This reckless, dangerous, anti-immigrant, anti-health agenda must be stopped.”