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New Medicaid rule may deny health care to millions of poor Americans

Friday, June 30, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: health care, public health, health news


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(NewsTarget) -- A new Medicaid rule set to take effect July 1 would require each of the 50 million Americans who receive Medicaid to show proof of citizenship or lose medical benefits.

"Proof of citizenship" includes a passport or birth certificate, as well as other forms of identification, such as a driver's license. The rule, which is meant to help stop Medicaid fraud by illegal immigrants, could have the unintended effect of depriving essential health care to millions of legitimate citizens who cannot produce the required ID.

U.S. citizens such as the mentally ill, homeless people and those who were born prior to the time that birth certificates were issued would be immediately denied much-needed medical care once the rule is enacted. Lawsuits have been filed across the country to stop the rule, as it could exclude many citizens who have a right to receive Medicaid benefits.

Supporters of the bill, such as Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr., R-Ga., claim illegal aliens are guilty of the "outright theft of Medicaid," even though the Inspector General concluded in a report that there was little fraud by non-citizens.

The rule is part of last year's Deficit Reduction act, which was signed into law in February of this year. Though the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the rule will reduce Medicaid spending by $735 million over the next 10 years, many lawmakers have called for a delay in implementation because the provision will bar many qualified recipients from health care.

Note from Mike Adams: While most countries are trying to figure out how to provide health coverage to more people, the United States is determined to cover fewer people. Hasn't anybody thought about where all these non-covered people are going to end up when their health problems go untreated? They'll end up in the emergency rooms, folks, which will cost a whole lot more than any Medicaid savings. It's economics 101. You don't save money by denying health care to your nation's inhabitants.

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