August 13 2019

The California Endowment’s Statement from President & CEO Robert K. Ross, MD Opposing DHC Implementation of Public Charge Regulation

Los Angeles (August 13, 2019) –  “The California Endowment strongly condemns this week’s finalization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “public charge” regulation, threatening access to health, nutrition, and housing for millions of legal immigrants. The regulation is scheduled to be implemented in two months, beginning October 15, 2019. If implemented, this regulation will have significant harmful impacts on the health and well-being of Californians,” said Robert K. Ross, MD, president and CEO, The California Endowment.

“California is home to the largest number of immigrants and the highest percentage of new permanent residents in the country. The Endowment has supported expanding access to health coverage, nutrition, physical activity, housing, and other supports for healthy living and optimal health for all Californians, including all its immigrant residents. We know that our health care system works best when everyone participates. Any system that excludes anyone, hurts everyone.

The regulation will make immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs – programs that their own tax dollars help support. By expanding the definition of public charge to include non-cash services such as essential health care, healthy and nutritious food, and secure housing, the regulation effectively discourages and punishes low-wealth legal immigrants by making it even more difficult for them to succeed in the United States. The regulation effectively consigns these families to poverty, hunger, ill health, and unstable housing by discouraging enrollment in programs that improve health, food security, nutrition, and economic security – with profound consequences for immigrant families’ well-being and for the future of our state and nation.

The Endowment is deeply concerned about false and misleading assumptions that continue to be used to justify this regulation, and the concrete harm that such false narratives have on immigrants residing in California and throughout the U.S. Immigrants make significant economic, social, cultural, and other contributions to our communities, our state, and our nation. On the other hand, public policies that create fear and mistrust in immigrant communities result in adverse impacts on the health of immigrant families and the community at large.

The Endowment has been proud to join many other voices in philanthropy, and in every sector throughout California, in opposing this regulation. We will continue to support our community partners in reaching out to, and counseling, immigrant families about their eligibility for basic services, as well as support continued advocacy opposing the implementation of the regulation.  If we want our communities to thrive, we must support the ability of all residents in our communities to stay together and to get the care, services, and support they need to live healthy and productive lives.”

About The California Endowment

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The Endowment’s Web site at



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