Deadline Approaches for Medicaid Citizenship Requirement
Two newspapers recently examined the new Medicaid requirement that takes effect July 1 for enrollees and applicants to provide documents that prove U.S. citizenship. Summaries appear below.
AP/Indianapolis Star: The AP/Star on Monday examined health analysts' concerns that the new requirement might prevent some U.S. citizens from obtaining health care. According to the AP/Star, advocacy groups for the homeless and mentally ill have "asked the Bush administration to presume that beneficiaries seeking care are eligible for "Medicaid and then allow them time to provide the necessary documents. CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said that he is receptive to the concerns of numerous advocacy groups and that the agency is developing a process for exceptions. McClellan did not indicate how much time beneficiaries might be given to find documentation or what other documents might be acceptable, adding that guidance will be issued to states soon (Freking, AP/Indianapolis Star, 6/5).
- San Diego Union-Tribune: The Union-Tribune on Tuesday examined patient advocates' contentions that the new requirement could "have disastrous consequences for millions of Americans." According to the Union-Tribune, advocates are concerned that individuals who are dissuaded from seeking Medicaid coverage "would likely turn to hospital emergency rooms, where they legally can't be turned away, as a last resort for medical care," putting more strain on hospitals. In addition, some health experts predict the changes "will cause an administrative nightmare" for Medicaid processing agencies, the Union-Tribune reports (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/6).