Belshé: More Guidance Needed on Medicaid Law
California "cannot fully implement" a new federal law that requires Medicaid beneficiaries to provide proof of citizenship without additional direction from the government, Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Belshé writes in a Los Angeles Times letter to the editor (Belshé, Los Angeles Times, 6/13).
Under the measure, signed into law by President Bush in February, individuals seeking care through Medicaid as of July 1 will be required to show proof of U.S. citizenship -- such as a birth certificate, passport or another form of identification. The law is intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from claiming to be citizens to receive benefits provided only to legal residents.
California health officials earlier this month said they are postponing the enforcement of the law because HHS had not yet released federal guidelines. CMS on Friday released the guidelines (California Healthline, 6/12).
Belshé said that in order for California to comply, the federal government must provide states with "guidance on implementation and verify specifics on acceptable information" and notify beneficiaries about the law. In addition, Belshé said that counties "need direction on how to implement the law." Counties administer Medi-Cal (Los Angeles Times, 6/13).