US says no to immigrants unless they can afford health care

President Donald Trump. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: The US will deny visas to immigrants unless they can prove they can cover their own medical costs, a move aimed at preventing the entry of those who “will be a financial burden to the United States healthcare system.”

Immigrants applying for visas will have to prove they will be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering the country or have the financial resources to pay for medical bills, the White House said in a proclamation issued on Friday.

The edict highlights President Donald Trump’s tough stance on migrants that will remain central to his campaign for the 2020 election. The move also effectively creates a mandate for immigrants to have health care after the administration overturned the Obama-era rule for Americans to have coverage, a setback for efforts to reduce the level of uninsured in the US

The costs of services provided by hospitals that don’t get reimbursed has topped US$35 billion each year in the past decade and immigrants are nearly three times more likely to lack health insurance then US citizens, according to the statement.

“Large numbers of non-citizens have taken advantage of our country’s generous public health programs,” Trump said in the proclamation.