Monday, March 12, 2007

Can You Spell A-B-S-U-R-D?

Rhiannon M. Noth was denied Medicaid for heart surgery for her son Landen, 3, right, because she could not obtain the necessary documents.

From the NY Times this morning:

A new federal rule intended to keep illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid has instead shut out tens of thousands of United States citizens who have had difficulty complying with requirements to show birth certificates and other documents proving their citizenship, state officials say.

Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia have all reported declines in enrollment and traced them to the new federal requirement, which comes just as state officials around the country are striving to expand coverage through Medicaid and other means.

Under a 2006 federal law, the Deficit Reduction Act, most people who say they are United States citizens and want Medicaid must provide “satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship,” which could include a passport or the combination of a birth certificate and a driver’s license.

Some state officials say the Bush administration went beyond the law in some ways, for example, by requiring people to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency.

“The largest adverse effect of this policy has been on people who are American citizens,” said Kevin W. Concannon, director of the Department of Human Services in Iowa...
to read on, click here.

1 comment:

Sue Trinidad said...

This is absolutely infuriating. Under US law, a child born in the United States is an American. The people who are pushing this policy are punishing newborns (and other children) for the problem of illegal immigration.

It's unjust, which is the main reason this makes me so crazy; but it's also incredibly short-sighted from both an economic and a public health standpoint.

A person who shows up in the ER with life-threatening problems must be treated, regardless of citizenship. So let's not provide newborn care. Let's wait until we have a bunch of sick babies who need a lot of expensive, high-tech care. Then we'll do something.

It's also a stupid public health move. Let's train parents not to get appropriate, timely preventive care for their children. Let's not provide any help to new parents so their kids can start off life on the right foot in terms of their health. Then let's scratch our heads and wonder why we continue to have race-based health care disparities in the richest country in the world.