Those seeking to legally immigrate to the U.S. must have health insurance, President Donald Trump declared in a proclamation he signed Friday.
"While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States Government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their healthcare costs," reads the proclamation, which is set to take effect Nov. 3. "Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs."
It declares the entry of "aliens who will financially burden the United States healthcare system is hereby suspended."
Anyone applying for an entry visa must show they will have coverage within 30 days of entering the country or that they have the money to cover "reasonably foreseeable medical costs." It does not specify the dollar figure needed but says a consular officer would determine if an applicant met the requirements before issuing a visa and that the secretary of state might "establish standards and procedures."
Refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, and Iraqis or Afghans seeking a Special Immigrant Visa, and those holding visas before Nov. 3 would all be exempt from the requirement.
Approved health care plans under the proclamation include employer-sponsored plans, family members' plans, catastrophic coverage, short-term coverage plans and Medicare plans. Migrants would not be able to use Medicaid plans or the subsidized plans offered on the state markets under the Affordable Care Act.
The proclamation also calls for an interdepartmental report to be submitted within 180 days on the "Financial Burdens Imposed by Immigrants on the Healthcare System."
The text of Trump's order states that "data show that lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance." According to a September report from the Census Bureau, 6.8% of those born in the U.S. were uninsured in 2018, compared with 18.9% of those born in another country.