Proof-of-Citizenship Law Might Be Affecting Medicaid Enrollment
One-third of states in 2006 increased access to health coverage, but new federal proof-of-citizenship rules might be leading to a decline in children's Medicaid enrollment in some states, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, CongressDaily reports. The survey found that in 2006 -- for the first time in four years -- no state cut eligibility for Medicaid or SCHIP(CongressDaily, 1/9).
However, according to Donna Cohen Ross, a survey author and outreach director at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a growing number of states are reporting declines in enrollment and a backlog of applications since the proof-of-citizenship law was implemented on July 1, 2006 (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 1/9).
The law is a response to concerns about undocumented immigrants obtaining access to government-sponsored health coverage, according to AP/Yahoo! News (Freking, AP/Yahoo! News, 1/9).
The survey indicates that Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin are some of the states reporting enrollment declines and backlogs since the law took effect (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 1/9). Officials in states with declining enrollment and processing backlogs contend that the law is preventing U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants from obtaining benefits, rather than undocumented immigrants (Freking, AP/Yahoo! News, 1/9). T
he survey concludes, "This new federal requirement restricts state flexibility to establish simple and efficient procedures and appears to be compromising efforts to cover eligible individuals" (CQ HealthBeat, 1/9).