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What We're Reading: Public Charge Policy Revised; Breast Implants Linked to Cancers; AMA Warns Patient Health at Risk


The Department of Homeland Security is revising a rule that discouraged non–citizen immigrants from using government-funded health services; breast implants may be linked to cancers forming around the scar tissue; the American Medical Association (AMA) calls for guidance on state abortion laws to protect patient health.

DHS Revises Public Charge Policy

A rule passed during the Trump administration that discouraged immigrants who were not citizens from seeking government-funded health services will be revised by the Department of Homeland Security. Non-citizens will no longer be classified as “public charges” based on their use of health-related benefits and government services, as the designation as a public charge could result in a denied green card. The new rule, which will take effect on December 23, will protect health benefits including the Children’s Health Insurance Program and most Medicaid benefits. Long-term residence in nursing homes will not be covered. With this new rule, SNAP benefits or pandemic assistance will not count against non-citizens trying to gain green card eligibility.

Scar Tissue on Breast Implants Linked to Cancers

The FDA warned that breast implants could lead to the development of certain cancers around the scar tissue on the implants. The malignancies, although rare, have been linked to all types of implants, including those filled with saline or silicone. Anaplastic large cell lymphoma has been linked to textured implants more than a decade ago. The FDA is currently calling more attention to squamous cell carcinoma and other types of lymphoma that could be related to implants. The FDA said that all health care providers and people seeking breast implants should be made aware of the risks, given the cases that have been reported to the FDA and in literature, albeit rare.

AMA Seeks More Guidance on State Abortion Laws for Patients

The American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and National Community Pharmacists Association released a joint statement warning of the risk to patients’ health following the overturning of Roe v Wade. The organizations requested that all state officials give clear guidance on interpreting their abortion laws. The statement went on to say that health care providers have been faced with a confusing landscape on abortion policies. Providers’ ability to serve patients and how broadly the state abortion restrictions will be interpreted have been called into question, which the organizations say have their members and patients reporting a disruption in care.

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