Thursday, July 6, 2006

MEDICAID ID RULE COULD PUT HEALTH COVERAGE AT RISK FOR 3 TO 5 MILLION U.S. CITIZENS

Librarians will be called upon to assist with obtaining documentation.

Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 imposes a new documentation requirement on the more than 50 million U.S. citizens now covered by Medicaid, as well as on citizens who will need the program’s health and long-term care services in the future.

A new rule requiring U.S. citizens to prove their citizenship when applying for or renewing Medicaid benefits is expected to jeopardize coverage for several million qualified citizens, from elderly people in nursing homes to foster children, according to a national survey conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington-based research group.

The rule, which takes effect July 1, requires native-born citizens to produce a passport or birth certificate (except in rare cases) to begin or continue Medicaid coverage. Its main effect “is likely to impede or delay coverage for millions of eligible U.S. citizens,” said Judith Solomon of the Center.

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