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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

More on the New Medicaid Citizenship Requirement

More on the New Medicaid Citizenship Requirement

April 15, 2006

Great piece in today's NY Times on the chaos that may be caused by the new requirement that all Medicaid enrollees must provide documentation of US citizenship to stay in the program, beginning on July 1, 2006.

It's not just immigrants who will be hurt by this new rule, included in last year's abominable federal Deficit Reduction Act.

"'This provision is misguided and will serve as a barrier to health care for otherwise eligible United States citizens,' said Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington, a Democrat.
Ms. Gregoire said the provision would cause hardship for many older African-Americans who never received birth certificates and for homeless people who did not have ready access to family records.

"Hospitals and nursing homes are expressing concern. 'The new requirement will result in fewer people being eligible for Medicaid or enrolling in the program, and that means more uninsured people,' said Lynne P. Fagnani, senior vice president of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. 'They still need care, but are more likely to wait until their condition becomes more severe and more costly to treat.'"

Good for Gov. Christine Gregoire. We should encourage other political leaders to speak out against this counter productive requirement.