Proposed 'Public Charge' Rule Poses Danger to Individuals, Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Monday, September 24, 2018

Statement attributable to:
Michael Munger, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

"The proposed regulation that changes long-standing rules governing how and whether immigrants can be determined to be a ‘public charge’ poses a danger to the health of individuals and communities. With such a change, the proposed rule would open the door to fundamentally alter our immigration process based on potential future economic factors versus the merits of the individuals’ request for legal status.

"Family physicians’ greatest concern about this proposed rule is that, regardless of their immigrant status, patients will risk their own health and safety—and that of the community—by avoiding needed health services from their trusted doctors. Not only does this scenario endanger public health, but it also lays the groundwork for higher health spending at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. Delaying necessary care can lead to worsening conditions and complications that require more complex and costly medical treatment.

"The American Academy of Family Physicians urges the administration to abandon this effort and to work with health care professionals to ensure broader access, improved quality and more affordable care to help build resilient communities with healthy families."

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Munger, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).