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New Public Charge Proposed Policy Threatens Access To Emergency Care

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to a new proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that would make it harder for legal immigrants—who are already in the country—to obtain green cards, if they’ve been dependent on public benefits such as food stamps, public housing, or even Medicaid, Paul Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians made the following statement:

“ACEP joins other professional medical associations in opposing this proposed public charge rule. It is a dangerous policy that, if finalized, will have negative effects for all Americans. Out of fear, when people avoid getting medical care—such as treatment for communicable diseases—it can spread and affect anyone. We urge the Trump Administration to reject this immediately.

“In addition, this proposed policy will significantly affect emergency departments nationwide, because, if finalized, many in this country may delay seeking vital emergency care until they are too sick to stay away.  

“With no other options, people often turn to emergency departments for medical care, which serve as a vital part of America’s health care safety net.  Emergency physicians oppose proposals that potentially put the health of any individual at risk.”

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million people they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit and

Contact: Steve Arnoff | | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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