Study: Citizenship Check Burdens States, Eligible Applicants for Medi-Cal
A federal citizenship verification requirement has burdened local health agencies and hindered health care access for some eligible applicants to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, a recent study found, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The California Endowment and the California HealthCare Foundation conducted the study by surveying all 58 California counties and conducting six site visits.
CHCF is the publisher of California Healthline.
Barriers to Access
The study found that the citizenship checks created obstacles to health care access in particular for:
- Children older than age 16;
- Homeless populations;
- Individuals with mental health issues; and
- People born outside California.
Such individuals often had difficulty proving their citizenship because they could not locate proper documentation.
The report identified no current recipients who had falsely claimed U.S. citizenship (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 10/22). However, investigators found that a relatively small number of new applicants had made false citizenship claims (United Press International, 10/22).
Burdens on Health Agencies
The study also found that nearly all county health departments said the citizenship verification rules had created additional backlogs, costs and workloads.
Investigators still are calculating the statewide costs of implementing the requirement.The report notes that although most county officials questioned the usefulness of the citizenship check, few officials thought the law should be repealed (Los Angeles Times, 10/22). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.