Home care and home health providers praised President Biden Tuesday for signing an executive order to revisit the Trump administration’s Public Charge rule, which denied green cards to illegal immigrants based on their potential use of public benefits, including Medicaid. 

A spokesman for the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) predicted that a reversal of the policy by the new administration “should help increase the home- and community-based services (HCBS) workforce at a time when home care demand is rising.”

After court rulings blocked it, the rule went into effect in September 2020. In 2019 a  Kaiser Family Foundation report found that nearly 8 out of 10 immigrants have at least one characteristic that would label them a public charge. The report went on to estimate that under the policy, 2 million to 4.7 million people could disenroll from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The policy, the report noted, also would lessen new enrollments and decrease revenue for providers. Tuesday’s executive order was among three immigration orders that the president signed. 

The NAHC spokesman told McKnight’s Home Care Daily that his organization, like many others, opposed the public charge rule from the outset because of its impact on HCBS. “The HCBS caregiver,” he said, “is often receiving some forms of public benefits because state Medicaid programs pay too little and not enough has been done in recent years to hold states accountable for adequate payment rates.”