M. Gregg Bloche M. D. J.D. is a professor of law at Georgetown University as well as an expert in Public Health. In the March 9 issue of The Hill, he warns of the potentially disastrous consequences of the refusal by 14 states, including Texas and Florida, to extend Medicaid coverage to millions of poor and uninsured people. While he does not mention immigration specifically, his article is also a powerful argument against the Trump-Miller Public Charge rule which has just gone into effect and is intended to discourage potentially millions of immigrants from obtaining Medicaid coverage.


Medicaid expansion should be part of our emergency response


Professor Bloche writes that the 14-states restrictions against Medicaid expansion could cause as many as 800,000 people to become infected with the potentially deadly virus.

The Public Charge rule ,which is obviously intended to reduce legal immigration from nonwhite parts of the world, has gone into effect at the worst possible time from the standpoint of protecting the American people from a potential pandemic. If Donald Trump cares anything about protecting the nation from a health danger that he has consistently tried to minimize and play down, while at the same time hyping the imagined danger from nonwhite immigrants, he should immediately suspend the Public Charge rule.

The Public Charge regulation, which is intended to and most likely will impact legal immigration from mainly nonwhite countries, is also aimed against immigrants who obtain benefits under the ACA, not just Medicaid. This could lead to spreading the virus ever further than the state restrictions discussed in Professor Bloche's article.

The coronavirus does not care about citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. It does not respect or pay the slightest attention to borders, Walls, ethnicity, ancestry, skin color or religion. It is way past the time for the Trump administration to turn away from its obsession with using immigration policy to keep America white, and to increase its focus on the most immediate and urgent danger to America from the coronavirus

The right to health is a basic human right for all people, including immigrants, as recognized by international law. So is the right to freedom from racial and religious discrimination. The Trump administration has a long way to go in upholding both of these essential human rights, for immigrants and American citizens alike. The time to start doing this is now.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
Harvard Law School LL.B
Harvard College A.B.