AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued the following statement in response to the rule released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), finalizing how and whether immigrants can be classified as a “public charge”:
“Today’s changes to how ‘public charges’ are classified will discourage noncitizen immigrants from seeking the care and other services they need and to which they are legally entitled. The consequences of this action will be to potentially exacerbate illnesses and increase the costs of care when their condition becomes too severe to ignore. The AAMC is extremely disappointed that DHS did not heed comments on the negative impact these changes would have on the health of these individuals.
Stable and continuous access to health care, food, and housing are vital to ensuring better health outcomes. Deterring access to programs for which an individual legally qualifies, such as Medicaid, will cause delays in seeking needed care. Along with the rule’s impact on food subsidies and housing support, this change will worsen existing health inequities and disparities, cause further harm to many underserved and vulnerable populations, and increase costs to the health care system overall, which will affect all patients.
As part of our mission to improve the health of all, the AAMC will continue to work to ensure that all patients have access to the timely, affordable, and high-quality care they need.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.