The California Primary Care Association (CPCA) and our health center members have been immensely troubled by the tone of recent national discussions on immigration. The Trump Administration has proposed changes to the public charge rule that would expand the list of public benefit programs to include the use of food assistant programs (like SNAP), Medi-Cal, Medicare Part D subsidies and housing assistance when an individual applies to enter or reenter the country or applies for legal permanent residency (i.e. green card). The increased atmosphere of fear leads to a chilling effect and discourages immigrant patients and their families from enrolling into lifesaving services, such as Medi-Cal, out of fear that their immigration status would be affected.
In response, the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) has been working closely with our immigrant-focused partners to create resources that assist health centers in advocating against changes that would negatively impact our immigrant patients and communities. At the moment, CPCA is leading the Immigrant Access to Public Benefits Workgroup which is focused on creating a Messaging Training for community members and patients. CPCA decided to reconvene the workgroup after hearing from our members and community partners of the need to train community members on how to respond to patient’s questions concerning public charge. Thus far, the workgroup has created modules that provide information regarding the proposed rule, the impact to farmworkers and children, story collection, how to avoid giving legal advice when speaking on public charge, privacy rights and much more. We’ve hosted our first training, which was a huge success and had 100 attendees, and are excited to host additional 5-8 trainings this year. If you’re interested in learning more please contact Liz Oseguera, CPCA’s Associate Director of Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to our work regarding trainings, CPCA continues to push back against the rule and has decided to be an Associational Plaintiff in future litigation efforts against the public charge rule.