November 13, 2018 (Grand Rapids, MI) – As the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Michigan, Cherry Health serves over 80,000 patients annually, many of whom are legal immigrants. The public charge proposal announced by the Administration is cause for profound concern for us, and FQHCs across the nation and the 28 million patients they serve. The proposed rule makes significant changes to established policy around public charge and, as a result, imposes barriers to health care services for immigrant families, including those who live and work in the U.S. legally.
Cherry Health’s mission is to treat the underserved so they can access the high-quality, affordable health care they need. Access to affordable health care provides the medically underserved with the opportunity to contribute to their communities, thrive and reach their full potential. The rule will likely result in individuals, including those seen at health centers, being deterred from addressing their health care needs, ultimately leading to worse health outcomes for them and their communities. As a patient-centered organization, by mission we seek to provide appropriate and meaningful access to care for all those who come through our doors and fear that this rule works in contrast to this longstanding goal.
We ask that the Administration reconsider this effort immediately and work with us to ensure that health centers and the patients they serve are not put at risk.