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Fearing Trump’s green card policy, families with immigrants may opt out of coronavirus care

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Families who have at least one member without a green card are fearful of using public benefit programs because of a Trump immigration policy, creating concern they may also avoid publicly available coronavirus testing and treatment.

The Urban Institute study found persistence of the chilling effect caused by the Trump administration’s public charge rule that expands the criteria for denying legal permanent residence applications based on past or potential use of government benefit programs.

Among adults in households most likely to be directly affected by the rule — those with at least one family member who was not a legal permanent resident — 31 percent reported avoiding benefit programs in 2019, compared to 21.8 percent in 2018.

The rule went into effect in February 2020, but early versions of it were leaked to the public, creating fear and confusion among mostly Latino immigrant families. Some dropped food stamps and assistance for young children and pregnant mothers, including health care, even though they or their children were eligible, as NBC News reported last year.

“That chilling effects observed in 2018 among immigrant families persisted into 2019 — and increased among families most likely to be affected by the public charge rule — is alarming in the unprecedented context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the study’s authors stated. “Many worry that immigrant families may be afraid to enroll in public programs that expand access to medical testing and treatment for COVID-19, putting into sharp relief the public health risks of these chilling effects.”

More than one in seven adults in immigrant families, or 15.6 percent, said they or a family member avoided a non-cash government benefit program, such as Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, or housing subsidies last year for fear of risking approval for legal permanent residence, or what is known as a green card, according to the study.

The fear was more severe among low-income immigrant families, where more than a quarter, 26.2 percent, reported not using assistance programs for which they were eligible because of the chilling effect of the Trump policy.

Nearly half of adults in immigrant families who said they avoided using programs avoided the food stamp program, SNAP. Forty-five percent avoided Medicaid or CHIP and 35.2 percent avoided housing subsidies.

The researchers noted that about one in four adults in the families reported avoiding a program not named in the public charge rule, including free or reduce-cost medical care for the uninsured, Women Infant and Children assistance; health insurance purchased through marketplaces and free or reduced-price school lunches.

Although about two-thirds were aware of the public charge rule and most were confident they understood it, just 22.7 percent knew it does not apply to citizenship applications and only 19.1 percent knew children’s enrollment in Medicaid would not be considered in assessing whether green card applicants used public benefits.

The institute surveyed 1,747 non-elderly adults who were born outside the U.S. or who live with one or more foreign born family member.

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Boris: Covid won't stop me going for 'Red Wall' seats

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BORIS Johnson has vowed to not let the coronavirus pandemic get in the way of his plans to transform the forgotten parts of Britain.

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Trump SCOTUS pick Amy Coney Barrett’s past critiques on Obamacare face scrutiny

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WASHINGTON — Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s expected Supreme Court nominee whose appointment could cement a conservative court majority for a generation, is on record criticizing past jurisprudence upholding the Affordable Care Act.

In a 2017 Notre Dame Law School article, Barrett quoted from the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who protested 2012 and 2015 rulings upholding core provisions of the law and lamented that Obamacare should be renamed “SCOTUScare.”

Barrett’s scholarly writings are giving fuel to Democratic arguments that her appointment could upend health coverage for 20 million Americans. They provide her opponents with a paper trail of comments on the politically salient health care law which they lacked with Trump’s prior Court nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

“For Justice Scalia and those who share his commitment to uphold text, the measure of a court is its fair-minded application of the rule of law, which means going where the law leads. By this measure, it is illegitimate for the Court to distort either the Constitution or a statute to achieve what it deems a preferable result,” Barrett wrote in the January 2017 article.

Regarding a 2012 ruling upholding the law’s individual mandate by a 5 to 4 margin, Barrett also criticized Chief Justice John Roberts, saying he had “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”

Barrett would be Trump’s third appointment to the nation’s highest court; and with Republicans in control of the Senate, Democrats say they are clear-eyed about their limited procedural options for halting the appointment, which would come weeks — if not days — before an election Trump is already saying he expects to be decided by the Supreme Court.

With the nation experiencing a pandemic that’s already claimed 200,000 lives and left at least 6 million with potential COVID-related “pre-existing” conditions, Democrats are focusing on health care to persuade voters that Barrett’s appointment will have a direct impact on their lives, with a new lawsuit led by Texas, and supported by the Trump administration, coming before the Supreme Court on November 10.

Some legal scholars say Barrett’s past writings indicate sympathy for prior challenges to Obamacare, but don’t reveal how she’d rule in the upcoming case, which hinges on a different legal question.

Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and an architect of the 2015 legal challenge to ACA subsidies, said Barrett’s passage evoking “SCOTUScare” was “a fairly straightforward description of the Scalia dissent.”

“Given her embrace of textualism, it might be fair to suggest she found his opinion more convincing than the majority,” he said. “The second indicates some disapproval for the Chief Justice’s NFIB opinion and its stretching of the text.”

But Adler said that wouldn’t be inconsistent with believing the pending Texas case should fail.

“Neither tells us much of anything about her views of the current ACA suit, however, as many of us who thought Roberts was wrong in NFIB, and that Scalia was correct in King, believe that Texas should lose the current case,” he said in an email.

Nicholas Bagley, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and a critic of recent ACA litigation, said that Barrett’s article suggests she would’ve sided with Scalia in the 2012 case, but said it “doesn’t tell us anything about how she’d rule in a case that’s significantly weaker.”

Still, Bagley warned not to discount the legal danger Obamacare faces after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who voted in the majority in both cases involving the law.

“I think ACA supporters should be concerned,” he said in an email. “Not panicked: the lawsuit is weak and the Supreme Court is unlikely to endorse it. But a small risk of a bad thing is worth worrying about.”

Republicans have failed to undo the ACA legislatively, despite controlling Congress and White House for two years of Trump’s administration, and haven’t offered a replacement if the lawsuit succeeds.

“Where is that Republican substitute bill?” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked in a Judiciary Committee hearing this week.

Demand Justice, a progressive group that plans to spend as much as $10 million to build opposition to Barrett’s nomination, released an ad Friday warning that if Barrett “were on the Supreme Court, millions of Americans could lose their health insurance.”

A Senate Republican aide familiar with the nomination process said it’s a “fool’s errand to predict how judges will rule” on particular cases, such as the ACA lawsuit, after they’re confirmed. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that Barrett is likely to address the issue during the process.

As a candidate, Trump criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for voting to uphold the ACA, tweeting: “My judicial appointments will do the right thing, unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on Obamacare.”

“We should be rightly concerned that he’s going to keep his word,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee said during a Thursday hearing.



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National Trust should SAY SORRY: MPs demand funding cut after Winston Churchill smear

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AN INFLUENTIAL group of Conservative MPs has demanded that the Government cuts off funding to the National Trust until it apologises for “smearing the name” of Winston Churchill and other British heroes.

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