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New Trump rule could hit thousands of Indians

New Trump rule could hit thousands of Indians
Highlights

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who will not be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States or do not have the means to pay for their healthcare costs themselves.

Washington: President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who will not be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States or do not have the means to pay for their healthcare costs themselves.

The proclamation, issued by the White House, said the measure will take effect on November 3.

White House immigration official Doug Rand said some 23,000 Indians are likely to be impacted by this rule.

There are an estimated 35,000 family-sponsored immigrants from India every year. Nearly a third of them are already in the US when they apply for their Green Card; and the rest come from India.

The Trump administration said last month that it planned to allow only 18,000 refugees to resettle in the United States in the 2020 fiscal year, the lowest number in the history of the modern refugee programme.

"While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens," Trump said in the proclamation.

"Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs," Trump said in the order, using the same presidential authority under which he had earlier banned Muslims from certain countries as well as the asylum ban.

The document listed the types of insurance considered approved, such as employer-sponsored plans and the Medicare programme for the elderly.

But it said for people over the age of 18, coverage under the Medicaid programme for the poor is not approved.

The White House said in an accompanying factsheet that the President's order was intended to "ensure we protect the availability of healthcare benefits for American citizens".

Immigrants, it added, are three time more likely to lack health insurance than citizens and uncompensated healthcare costs have been in excess of $35 billion in each of the past 10 years.

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