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Biden Rescinds Controversial Rule Requiring Immigrants to Have Health Insurance

— May 16, 2021

The Trump-era rule required immigrants to either purchase health insurance before arriving to the United States or prove they had the money to pay for medical care out-of-pocket.

President Joe Biden has revoked a controversial 2019 rule that required immigrants to prove they either had health insurance or could afford health care before receiving visas to travel to or work in the United States.

The order, says The Hill, had required visa applicants to verify that they will be covered by an approved health insurance company within 30 days of entering the United States. If they could not do that, then they would have to show they have the ability to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

Trump’s order included several exceptions, including exemptions for refugees and the non-citizen children of U.S. citizens.

“Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” the Trump administration said.

But on Friday, Biden rescinded that order, saying the Trump-era rule “does not advance the interests of the United States.”

Former President Donald Trump on a video call in 2017. Image via: (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead). Public domain.

“My Administration is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Biden said in a proclamation. “We can achieve that objective, however, without barring the entry of noncitizens who seek to immigrate lawfully to this country but who lack significant financial means or have not purchased health insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”

President Biden then ordered leaders at the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to “review any regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions developed pursuant to” the 2019 order, so that they may then issue “revised guidance” reflective of the current administration’s stance on immigration.

According to The Hill, Biden’s announcement came minutes after the White House revealed an executive order revoking the “National Garden of American Heroes” that Trump had ordered built the previous year.

The National Garden had faced extensive criticism for omitting prominent figures in American history—the initial proposal included no indigenous peoples and excluded several wartime presidents.

Biden also revoked another order which Trump had intended to change Section 230, a piece of internet legislation which prevents technology companies from being held liable for content shared by users on their websites.

The Hill observes that President Biden has been under wide-ranging pressure to undo many of President Trump’s most restrictive and controversial policies, from immigration to internet censorship directives. Shortly after taking office, for instance, Biden signed executive orders upholding former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as a repeal of an order which banned travel from a handful of mostly Muslim-majority countries.


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