March 13, 2008
Medicaid Document Rules Hurting Citizens
Strict document requirements for Medicaid were adopted by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005 aimed at making sure undocumented immigrants would not obtain such benefits. That was crazy on many levels, but especially because there was little empirical data that showed that undocumented immigrants actually obtained such benefits. Now, there's clear evidence that the document requirements are hurting clearly eligible applicants who have difficulty coming up with the documents easily.
Barbara Bassler writes in the AARP Bulletin:
Bernice Todd's Choctaw family roots are sunk deep in the soil of Oklahoma, a state whose very name is Choctaw for "red people." But in the middle of a debilitating battle with cancer, Todd, a 39-year-old who cleans homes at a trailer park and baby-sits for a living, lost her state Medicaid health care coverage because, although she's a Native American, she could not prove she is a U.S. citizen.
While Todd's case is rich in irony, she is one of tens of thousands of Americans who are falling victim to a new federal rule—aimed at keeping illegal immigrants off the Medicaid rolls—requiring that recipients prove their citizenship and identity with documents many don't have.
"Even though I'm eligible for Medicaid and my family has been here forever, they had to drop me," says Todd, who lives in Ardmore, Okla., where her grandparents settled decades ago. "I just got a bill for $11,000. When I feel a bit better I'm going after those [citizenship] papers. But this is just one thing I didn't need right now."
States have always been required to check a Medicaid applicant’s eligibility, which includes citizenship. But a July 2006 rule, enforced by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), now demands specific documents as proof, such as a passport or a birth certificate, driver's license or military record. States face fines if they don't comply.
The rule, which neither CMS nor the Bush administration requested, was adopted by the Republican-dominated Congress in 2005 despite the fact that there was no evidence that undocumented immigrants were falsely claiming U.S. citizenship to get Medicaid. Click here for the rest of the story.
March 13, 2008 | Permalink
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What the good professor really means is that the library card, phone, light and water bills will no longer serve as means of identifying citizenship. What else could he mean when he complains about a mandate for the use of the only truly reliable forms of identification in this country.
The solution is not to cave in to the ethnocentric's and illegal alien advocates laments, and return to the days of laughably weak forms of identification, but to make a special effort to assist those who are wrongly inconvenienced by the fact that they live outside of mainstream America. For heaven's sake, one can't even write a check at Walmart without a driver's license or state issued identity card. The least that the recipient of aid can do is to prove that he/she is a person eligible for assistance.
Judging by the weak verification system that our welfare bureacracy appears to have, it is manifestly prone to fraud. Identity theft is on the rise, mostly due to fraud by illegal immigrants. Anyone with good sense could see that the potential for fraudulent receipt of citizen restricted benefits, so we are left to wonder about the true motives of those who make light of the government's proactive efforts to prevent unlawful expenditure of treasury funds.
Posted by: Horace | Mar 13, 2008 3:20:01 PM